May 8, 2024

FTC and FCC Sign Memorandum of Understanding and Net Neutrality

Discover the collaborative efforts of FTC and FCC with their Memorandum of Understanding, reinforcing net neutrality and consumer protection.

FTC and FCC Sign Memorandum of Understanding and Net Neutrality

On April 30, 2024, a press release by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) confirming their ongoing partnership in furtherance of consumer protection matters.

Before discussing the significance of the Memorandum of Understanding, here is a brief recap of each agency’s mission and purpose.

The Federal Trade Commission

The FTC regulates interstate commerce by preventing deceptive, unfair, or anti-competitive business practices and is charged with enforcing the Federal Trade Commission Act and a number of other specific rules and statutes. In furtherance of its mission, the FTC identifies practices that appear to violate the statutes and rules it enforces and takes legal action against the parties responsible. It also works to prevent consumer injury by educating both consumers and businesses through research, reports, and advocacy.

The Federal Communications Commission

The FCC is the federal government’s primary authority for communications law, regulation, and technological innovation, and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications via radio, television, and the Internet to promote connectivity and ensure a robust and competitive market.

Although each agency appears to have a separate and distinct mission and purpose, as technology continues to develop at a lightning-fast pace, their respective missions often coincide. For example, each agency has a stake in curbing illegal robocalls and Internet-driven fraud.

The Memorandum of Understanding

The Memorandum of Understanding was executed in the wake of the FCC’s recent decision to restore net neutrality by reclassifying broadband service as a Title II telecommunications service, and mobile broadband internet access as a commercial mobile service. It is intended to formalize the existing cooperation between the agencies and outlines how they will work together to protect consumers from illegal practices carried out by Internet service providers. The agencies have followed a similar MOU related to telemarketing enforcement issues since 2015.

The Memorandum of Understanding formalizes the existing cooperation between the agencies in enforcing net neutrality, and details how each agency will coordinate and share information with the other in light of that agency’s expertise in its specific jurisdiction. The Memorandum of Understanding reiterates that the FTC would continue to have jurisdiction over non-common carrier activities carried out by common carriers and will continue to exercise jurisdiction over Voice Over Internet Providers.

The Memorandum of Understanding will go into effect with FCC’s net neutrality order.

FTC and FCC Sign Memorandum of Understanding and Net Neutrality
Photographer: Scott Graham | Source: Unsplash

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