FCC Emphasizes EPIC, Coalition Concerns in Approved Rulemaking to Support Domestic Violence Survivors
February 16, 2023
On February 16, the Federal Communications Commission voted to proceed with its Safe Connections Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The rulemaking, which implements the requirements of the Safe Connections Act of 2022, seeks to help survivors of domestic violence separate their phone line from a shared account with an abuser, to protect the privacy of calls with hotlines and shelters, and to support survivors experiencing financial hardship through affordability programs.
EPIC and more than ten survivor advocacy and direct service organizations voiced support for this rulemaking, but also raised several concerns in their joint comment to the FCC’s Notice of Inquiry in August. The FCC highlighted and sought comment on many of these concerns in its proposed NPRM, including difficulty accessing identification documents, requiring a third party to “vouch” for survivor status, and on-device spyware.
EPIC advocates for laws, regulations, and policies that safeguard user privacy and protect users from technology-facilitated abuse and harassment, including actions against stalkerware developers. EPIC also filed an amicus brief urging that dating platform companies be held liable when they ignore harassment and abuse.