July 16, 2002
Taking a dual opt-in/opt-out approach, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on July 16 adopted rules limiting phone company use and sale of information about customer calling habits. The FCC action responded to a 1999 federal appeals court decision vacating the FCC's opt-in rule for so-called "customer proprietary network information" (CPNI), data about local and long distance calling patterns useful for customer profiling. Under the new rule, carriers can use or disclose CPNI to affiliates, third-party agents and joint venture partners providing communications-related services if they provide customers with adequate notice and the opportunity to opt-out. However, carriers can disclose CPNI to unrelated third parties or to others for purposes not related to the providing of communications services only with prior opt-in approval.