Skip to main content

Pai to Hill: FCC is Not Delaying Geolocation Data Investigation

FCC chair Ajit Pai assured Congress this week that the FCC continues to investigate the selling by wireless carriers of geolocation data to third parties, and said any suggestion otherwise is not true.

That came in testimony Wednesday (April 3) at an FCC budget hearing in the House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee.

Asked by ranking member Tom Graves (R-Ga.) to comment on a New York Times story on that "pay-to-track" investigation that suggested the FCC had been delayed in responding as a result of which such tracking continued, Pai shot back that "the allegation of delay was flatly false."

He said when he was apprised of the tracking, he immediately launched an investigation. "They've done that," he said. He said he was "hamstrung by the fact that he does not comment publicly on enforcement investigations other that to say that the FCC's career staff is actively working on this issue within the relevant statute of limitations."

He said he could only say the staff was working hard on the issue and leave it at that.

Pai appeared to be putting to rest one concern from Democratic commissioner Geoffrey Starks, who this week was pushing the FCC to complete the investigation, in part because he was concerned the statute of limitations would run out.

The other Democratic commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel, who joined Pai at the budget hearing, told the committee she was not "totally satisfied" with Pai's "leave it at that" explanation. "I think people need to know more," including her.

Rosenworcel said she had asked the Enforcement Bureau to explain how it was investigating and asked for copies of its letters of inquiry. 'They have refused to share the information with me," she said. "I think that the agency has to do more than just offer this quiet response."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.