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Tuesday, August 27, 2013, Alert No. 2,590.
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FTC Takes Action to End Fraudulent Billing Scam Affecting Android Devices

8/20. The Federal Trade Commission FTC) filed a complaint [12 pages in PDF] in the U.S. District Court (DC) against Jesta Digital LLC, dba Jamster, alleging violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act (15 U.S.C. 45) in connection with its fraudulent billing scam involving mobile devices that use the Android operating system by exploiting the Wireless Access Protocol (WAP). See also, FTC release.

The parties simultaneously filed a proposed final judgment [25 pages in PDF], under which Jesta Digital admitted no wrongdoing, but which enjoins it from continuing the fraudulent practices stated in the complaint, and requires it to pay refunds to defrauded consumers.

Jesta Digital ran banner ads that displayed on consumers' Android mobile devices while they played the Angry Birds mobile app. These ads that falsely purported to be Android operating system virus detection alerts, and falsely provided a "remove" option. When consumers clicked to "remove", nothing was removed; rather, clicking caused the display of an ad for anti-virus software. The complaint adds that when consumers clicked to "subscribe" to this software, Jesta Digital then charged them via the WAP $9.99 per month for ringtones and other items unrelated to virus removal.

This case is FTC v. Jesta Digital LLC, dba Jamster, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, D.C. No. 1:13-cv-01272.

FCC Adopts NPRM and Issues Freeze Regarding Emission Mask Requirements for 800 MHz Public Safety Spectrum

8/27. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) [17 pages in PDF] regarding emission mask requirements for digital technologies on 800 MHz NPSPAC channels.

This NPRM proposes "to require digital technologies, including but not limited to Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) based technologies, to comply with Emission Mask H when operated in the 800 MHz National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC) band (806-809/851-854 MHz)."  (Parentheses in original. Footnote omitted.)

It also proposes "to require equipment to have analog FM capability when operating on 800 MHz, VHF, and UHF public safety mutual aid and interoperability channels."

This NPRM states that "these proposals could help safeguard adjacent-channel interference and to preserve interoperability."

This NPRM also institutes a "freeze" on certain facilities applications and equipment certifications pending outcome of this rulemaking proceeding. See also, August 27 Public Notice (DA 13-1803) regarding this "freeze".

This "freeze" covers "Applications seeking 800 MHz NPSPAC channels where the applicant specifies digitally modulated equipment that does not conform to Emission Mask H will not be accepted", "Applications seeking 800 MHz NPSPAC channels where the applicant specifies equipment not capable of analog FM modulation on the NPSPAC mutual aid channels will not be accepted", "Applications seeking certification of equipment capable of operating on the NPSPAC public safety channels will not be accepted unless the certification applicant demonstrates that the equipment conforms to Emission Mask H when operating on the NPSPAC public safety channels", and "Applications seeking certification of equipment capable of operating on the NPSPAC public safety channels will not be accepted unless the certification applicant demonstrates that the equipment is capable of operating with analog FM modulation on the NPSPAC mutual aid channels".

This NPRM follows the April 30, 2012 petition for rulemaking [13 pages in PDF] filed by the Harris Corporation.

This NPRM is FCC 13-117 in PS Docket No. 13-209. The FCC adopted it on August 23, and released it on August 27. Initial comments will be due within 45 days of publication of a notice in the Federal Register (FR). Reply comments will be due within 60 days of such publication. As of the August 28 issue of the FR, this notice had not yet been published.

FCC Further Delays AT&T ATNI Transaction

8/27. Ruth Milkman, chief of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) sent a letter to AT&T and Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc. (ATNI) stating that the FCC will further delay its approval of the AT&T ATNI transaction. AT&T expressed its extreme disappointment.

Ruth MilkmanMilkman (at left) wrote that the FCC seeks "additional information and clarification of certain matters" regarding ATNI's "pre-paid customer base".

AT&T and ATNI (which does business as Alltel) announced in a release on January 22, 2013 that AT&T would acquire ATNI's wireless retail operations, and spectrum licenses. This transaction would affect about 620,000 subscribers in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, and Washington. This transaction pertains to the operations and spectrum that the FCC required be divested when Verizon Wireless acquired Alltel back in 2008.

On November 10, 2008, the FCC released the text [129 pages in PDF] of its Memorandum Opinion and Order and Declaratory Ruling approving, subject to divestitures, Verizon Wireless's acquisition of Alltel. The FCC adopted this item on November 4, 2008. It is FCC 08-258 in WT Docket No. 08-95.

AT&T's Jim Cicconi responded in a release on August 27 that "AT&T is extremely disappointed at the FCC delay today on this small transaction. AT&T is ready, willing and able to make significant network investments in these rural territories to bring HSPA+ and LTE services to Allied's customers, an investment that will not occur but for this transaction. AT&T has actively worked to address FCC concerns and will continue to work with the Commission until all issues are resolved."

Several entities filed petitions to deny the request to transfer spectrum licenses associated with the AT&T ATNI transaction on April 4, 2013.

The Rural Telecommunications Group wrote in its petition to deny [8 pages in PDF] that "Thus continues the onslaught of continual spectrum consolidation by the Twin Bells of AT&T and Verizon Wireless."

The Public Knowledge (PK) wrote in its petition to deny [7 pages in PDF] that it too is concerned about spectrum aggregation by AT&T and Verizon.

Buffalo-Lake Eric Wireless Systems Co., L.L.C. (also known as Blue Wireless) wrote in its petition to deny that "The proposed transaction, if consummated, will have the effect of converting ATN's CDMA facilities to GSM facilities in order to be integrated into the AT&T system. The Commission is well aware of the roaming problems which smaller carriers like Blue Wireless are experiencing as the major national carriers gobble up regional carriers and expand their footprints, making it difficult, if not impossible, for carriers to reach reasonable roaming agreements with giant carriers which have no incentive to do so. The loss of a potential COMA roaming partner in this key market will markedly reduce Blue Wireless and its customers' roaming options, access and capabilities. Accordingly, Blue Wireless has standing to file this petition."

The practice of the FCC is not to issue final orders denying applications of this nature. Rather, the FCC delays its approval, until it extracts the concessions that it seeks. Time is of the essence to the transacting parties, but not to the FCC. Moreover, with no final order, the transacting parties have no recourse to judicial review.

 The FCC's proceeding is WT Docket Nos. 13-54.

More Spectrum News

8/26. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted and released a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [94 pages in PDF] regarding the provision and marketing of Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS). This item is FCC 13-118 in CG Docket No. 13-24 and CG Docket No. 03-123. Initial comments will be due within 45 days of publication of a notice in the Federal Register (FR). Reply comments will be due within 75 days of such publication. As of the August 28 issue of the FR, this notice had not yet been published.

8/23. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Memorandum Opinion and Order (MOO) that considers several applications for Review that challenge actions taken by the FCC's Media Bureau regarding applications for new low power FM (LPFM) construction permits filed in the 2000 and 2001 LPFM filing windows. This MOO is FCC 13-116.

8/22. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) published a notice in the Federal Register (FR) that announces, describes, recites and sets the effective date (August 22, 2013) for its rules change that provides for the incorporation by reference of the NTIA's Manual of Regulations and Procedures for Federal Radio Frequency Management. See, FR, Vol. 78, No. 163, August 22, 2013, at Pages 52097-52098.

8/20. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced in a release that the FCC and Industry Canada have "agreed on three interim spectrum sharing arrangements covering a range of wireless communications operations along the U.S.-Canada border".

8/19. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) published a notice in the Federal Register (FR) that announces a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) regarding its proposed spectrum monitoring pilot program. The NTIA stated in its FR notice that this program, if funded and implemented, would "develop and deploy a prototype system to monitor spectrum usage in up to ten metropolitan areas". See, FR, Vol. 78, No. 160, August 19, 2013, at Pages 50399-50401.

8/19. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) published a notice in the Federal Register (FR), and a copy in its web site, that announces a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) regarding its common format for transition plans to be developed by federal entities to facilitate the relocation of, and spectrum sharing with, U.S. government stations in spectrum bands reallocated from federal use to non-federal use, or to shared use, and auctioned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The deadline to submit comments is September 18, 2013. See, FR, Vol. 78, No. 160, August 19, 2013, at Pages 50396-50399.

People and Appointments

Steve Ballmer8/23. Microsoft announced in a release that Steve Ballmer (at right) "has decided to retire as CEO within the next 12 months, upon the completion of a process to choose his successor". See also, Ballmer's public email to Microsoft employees.

8/20. Yahoo announced in a release to appointment of Dawn Airey as SVP for it Europe, Middle East and Africa operations.

More News

8/21. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a release on August 15, 2013, and published a notice in the Federal Register (FR) on August 21, that request public comments regarding the proposed parental consent method [85 pages in PDF, redacted] submitted by AssertID on June 18, 2013 under the Voluntary Commission Approval Processes provision of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule. See, FR, Vol. 78, No. 162, August 21, 2013, at Pages 51677-51678.

8/21. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division released a Modified Final Judgment [33 pages in PDF] in USA v. Comcast, the action filed in January of 2011 regarding the Comcast NBCU transaction. This case is U.S.A., et al. v. Comcast, et al., U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, D.C. No. 1:11-cv-00106-RJL.

8/20. Marc Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, wrote in a short piece that he "realized something important: the vast majority of people in the world don't have access to the internet", but they should have. Facebook simultaneously released an article [10 pages in PDF] titled "Is Connectivity a Human Right?" It advocates "free basic services to those who cannot afford them". It also references "White space spectrum", stating that "there is a policy movement to reallocate spectrum that has been used as a buffer around TV broadcasting. This is a good example of the industry working together with governments to make these networks more efficient."

8/15. President Obama issued another in a long series or annual routine emergency export regulation declarations. He sent notices to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate titled "Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Export Control Regulations". This is the thirteenth in a series of perfunctory annual declarations under which Presidents Bush and Obama have maintained the U.S. export regulation regime. This regime implements the "Export Administration Act", which expired in 2001, but which Presidents maintain by declaration. There is no emergency. The President and Congress disregard Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution, which provides that "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress ..." See also, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 155, August 12, 2013, at Pages 49105-49107. See also, stories titled "Obama Issues Annual Routine Emergency Export Regulation Declaration" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,429, August 15, 2012, and "President Issues Another Routine Emergency Declaration to Continue Export Regulation Regime" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,288, August 13, 2011.

8/14. The House Commerce Committee (HCC) announced in a release that its Subcommittee on Communications and Technology (SCT) will hold a hearing in September on "the legal regimes that regulate the delivery of video content to consumer", including the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA). The 111th Congress enacted S 3333 [LOC | WW], the STELA, in 2010. It is Public Law No. 111-175. See, story titled "Obama Signs Satellite TV Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,089, May 28, 2010. The STELA reauthorized the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act of 2004 (SHVERA). The SHVERA was enacted in 108th Congress, in late 2004, as one component of HR 4818, an omnibus appropriations bill. It became Public Law No. 108-447.

In This Issue
This issue contains the following items:
  FTC Takes Action to End Fraudulent Billing Scam Affecting Android Devices
  FCC Adopts NPRM and Issues Freeze Regarding Emission Mask Requirements for 800 MHz Public Safety Spectrum
  FCC Further Delays AT&T ATNI Transaction
  More Spectrum News
  People and Appointments
  More News
Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Tuesday, August 27

The House will not meet the week of August 26 through August 30. It will return from its August recess on Monday, September 9. See, House calendar for the 113th Congress, 1st Session.

The Senate will not meet the week of August 26 through August 30. It will return from its August recess on Monday, September 9. See, Senate calendar for the 113th Congress, 1st Session.

12:30 - 2:00 PM. The American Bar Association (ABA) will host a webcast and teleconferenced panel discussion titled "Avoiding Cybersecurity Snafus: Best Practices Ever". See, notice.

Wednesday, August 28

9:00 AM - 3:30 PM. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Judges Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award will hold a closed meeting. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 151, August 6, 2013, at Page 47674. Location: NIST, 100 Bureau Drive, Gaithersburg, MD.

1:00 - 4:00 PM. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMAC) will meet, on site and by webcast. The CSMAC will report the recommendations of three working groups: (1) WG3 1755-1850 MHz Satellite Control Links and Electronic Warfare, (2) WG4 1755-1850 MHz Fixed Point-to-Point and Tactical Radio Relay, and (3) WG5 1755-1850 MHz Airborne Operations. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 156, August 13, 2013, at Page 49260. Location: DOC, Hoover Building, Room 4830, 1401 Constitution Ave., NW.

Deadline for witnesses to submit their written testimony to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (OUSTR) in advance of its September 9 hearing in its Section 301 investigation of the intellectual property related actions of government of Ukraine. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 143, July 25, 2013, at Page 45011. Location: OUSTR, 1724 F St., NW.

Thursday, August 29

12:00 NOON - 1:00 PM. The Heritage Foundation will host a panel discussion titled "Privacy and Liberty". The speakers will be Jim Geraghty (National Review), Debbie Rose (Association for Competitive Technology), Paul Rosenzweig (Red Branch Law and Consulting), and James Carafano (HF). See, notice. Location: HF, 214 Massachusetts Ave., NE.

2:30 - 4:00 PM. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will host a public meeting regarding development of a "Consumer Data Privacy Code of Conduct Concerning Mobile Application Transparency". See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 154, August 9, 2013, at Pages 48655-48656. Location: American Institute of Architects, 1735 New York Ave., NW.

Friday, August 30

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) [127 pages in PDF] regarding "how to streamline or eliminate legacy regulations contained in the Computer Inquiry proceedings and that are applicable to the Bell Operating Companies". This item is FCC 13-69 in CC Docket Nos. 95-20 and 98-10. The FCC adopted its huge titled "Memorandum Opinion and Order and Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" on May 10, 2013, and released the text on May 17. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 126, July 1, 2013, at Pages 39233-39237.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding spectrum allocations for space related purposes. This NPRM makes two alternative proposals to modify the Allocation Table to provide interference protection for Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS) and Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) earth stations operated by federal agencies under authorizations granted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in certain frequency bands. This NPRM also proposes to amend a footnote to the Allocation Table to permit a Federal MSS system to operate in the 399.9-400.05 MHz band, and makes alternative proposals to modify the Allocation Table to provide access to spectrum on an interference protected basis to FCC licensees for use during the launch of launch rockets. This item is FCC 13-65 in ET Docket No. 13-115. The FCC adopted and released this item on May 9, 2013. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 126, July 1, 2013, at Pages 39200-39232.

Monday, September 2

Labor Day. This is a federal holiday. See, OPM list of 2013 federal holidays.

The House will not meet the week of September 2 through September 6. It will return from its August recess on Monday, September 9. See, House calendar for the 113th Congress, 1st Session.

The Senate will not meet the week of September 2 through September 6. It will return from its August recess on Monday, September 9. See, Senate calendar for the 113th Congress, 1st Session.

Tuesday, September 3

8:30 AM - 2:00 PM. The President's Committee on the National Medal of Science will hold a closed meeting to review and evaluate nominations. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 154, August 9, 2013, at Page 48724. Location: National Science Foundation (NSF), 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA.

12:00 NOON - 3:00 PM. The Department of Energy's (DOE) Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee will meet via teleconference. The DOE stated in its notice in the Federal Register (FR) that the purpose of the meeting is "to discuss progress of the subcommittee for the exascale challenges charge". See also, DOE letter of July 29, 2013. See, FR, Vol. 78, No. 160, August 19, 2013, at Pages 50404-50405.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry (FNPRM & NOI) regarding human exposure to RF electromagnetic fields. The FCC adopted this item on March 27, 2013, and released it March 29, 2013. It is FCC 13-39 in ET Docket Nos. 03-137 and 13-84. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 107, June 4, 2013, at Pages 33654-33687. See also, story titled "FCC Addresses Cellphone RF Exposure" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,543, April 1, 2013.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) regarding whether the FCC should "require apparatus manufacturers to ensure that their apparatus synchronize the appearance of closed captions with the display of the corresponding video". This FNPRM is FCC 13-84 in MB Docket No. 11-154. The FCC adopted this item on June 13, 2013, and released the text on June 14. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 127, July 2, 2013, at Pages 39691-39698. See also, story titled "FCC Again Addresses Closed Captioning Mandates for Video Programming Delivered Using IP" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,578, June 17, 2013.

Deadline to submit to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) initial comments and oppositions to the May 16, 2013 petition [14 pages in PDF of the Coalition of E-Reader Manufacturers (Amazon, Kobo and Sony) for a waiver of the FCC's disability access rules for e-readers. See, August 1, 2013 Public Notice, DA 13-1686 in CG Docket No. 10-213.

Deadline to submit comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Computer Security Division (CSD) regarding its draft SP 800-38 G [30 pages in PDF] titled "Recommendation for Block Cipher Modes of Operation: Methods for Format-Preserving Encryption".

Wednesday, September 4

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Media Bureau (MB) in response to its June 25, 2013 Public Notice (PN) [6 pages in PDF] regarding video description of video programming that is delivered via both television and the internet. This PN is DA 13-1438 in MB Docket No. 11-43. See also, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 129, July 5, 2013, at Pages 40421-40424.

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