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Enforcement Bureau Topics Describe the responsibilities of the FCC Field Offices. Discuss the investigation/enforcement process. FCC Field Office. Field Offices are critical to the FCC’s ability to:

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Presentation Transcript

Enforcement Bureau

Topics

Describe the responsibilities of the FCC Field Offices.

Discuss the investigation/enforcement process.


Fcc field office

FCC Field Office

Field Offices are critical to the FCC’s ability to:

Ensure the availability of communications during emergencies for purposes of public safety and Homeland Security.

Promote efficient use of the radio spectrum.


Ne region operations plan

NE Region Operations Plan

Major Action Elements:

Public Safety and Homeland Security

Spectrum Enforcement

Media

Competition and Broadband


Ne region operations plan1

NE Region Operations Plan

Public Safety and Homeland Security

Interference to Public Safety

Federal, State and Local Government

Cable Signal Leakage

Emergency Alert System (EAS)

Antenna Structure Enforcement


Ne region operations plan2

NE Region Operations Plan

Public Safety and Homeland Security

Search and Rescue

Emergency Response Exercises

Coast Guard, FAA and Air Force

Public Safety Outreach

Special Projects

VOIP and E-911

RF Radiation Exposure Enforcement


Ne region operations plan3

NE Region Operations Plan

Spectrum Enforcement

Interference to Non-Safety

Business and Commercial Radio Services

Unlicensed Operation Enforcement

Land Mobile and Broadcast Pirates

Marketing Enforcement

US Customs

Investigate Spy Shops, Trade Shows, etc.


Enforcement

Enforcement

Investigations

Determine

Who, What, When, Where, Why and How

Develop a convincing case to show a violation occurred through:

Handwritten notes

Inspection reports,

Photographs,

Tape recordings,

Interviews,

License checks, and

Signed statements/documents


Enforcement1

Enforcement

Resources (Equipment)

MDDF (Mobile Digital Direction Finding)

Remote Direction Finding and Monitoring Equipment

Spectrum Analyzers

Field Strength Meters

RF Radiation Survey Equipment


Enforcement2

Enforcement

Resources (Administrative)

Federal Law Enforcement Training

Interviewing, Evidence Gathering, Report Writing

Inspection Protocols

Inspection Checklists

Non-Hearing Administrative Subpoenas

Letter of Inquiry

Request for specific information


Enforcement3

Enforcement

Complaint

Investigation

  • Monetary Forfeitures

  • Consent Decrees

  • Revocation

  • Criminal Prosecution

  • Equipment Seizures

Sanction

  • Admonishments

  • Warnings

  • Citations

  • Notices of Violation

Correct Violation

Re-Inspection


Enforcement4

Enforcement

Admonishment and Warnings

Violation only warrants an admonishment or warning

Violation is deemed minor, or

Issuance of a fine is impermissible or inappropriate.

Informs subject that its actions violate FCC Rules and Regulations

Allows Bureau to establish record of enforcement action


Enforcement5

Enforcement

Citations

Provides notice to parties who do not ordinarily conduct business with the FCC

Appropriate for person not holding an FCC license, permit, certificate or other authorization

Exceptions:

Activity requires a license or is licensed by statute (e.g. CB)

Cable Operator

Tower Owner


Enforcement6

Enforcement

Notice of Violation (NOV)

Provides notice to licensee, permittee, or party holding FCC authorization.

Requires violator to make written response.

usually within 20 days to the field office

Based on response, a field office may take no further action, conduct further investigation, issue a follow-up NOV or issue a Notice of Apparent Liability (forfeiture).

Failure to respond can result in forfeiture


Enforcement7

Enforcement

Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL)

Informs subject that it has apparently violated the Communications Act, Commission Rule, order or terms of an authorization.

Must provide specific details for apparent violation

Informs subject of amount of monetary forfeiture


Enforcement8

Enforcement

Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL)

Violation must be willful and/or repeated

“Willful” means the conscious and deliberate commission or omission of an act, irrespective or intent to violate a statue or regulation

“Repeated” means the commission or omission of an act more than once or, if continuous, on more than one day.


Enforcement9

Enforcement

Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL)

Subject has 30 days from release date to file a response explaining:

Why it has not violated the specified provision;

Why the violation was not willful and/or repeated; or

Why the forfeiture amount should be mitigated or cancelled.

Alternatively, the subject may ignore the NAL or pay the full forfeiture amount.


Enforcement10

Enforcement

Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL)

If the subject fails to pay the forfeiture the FCC must review any response and decide whether to issue a Forfeiture Order.

In the Forfeiture Order (“FO”) the Commission may:

Issue the FO in the full amount specified in the NAL.

Issue the FO for a reduced amount

Cancel the forfeiture.


Enforcement11

Enforcement

Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL)

Upon issuance of FO, subject may

Pay the forfeiture resulting in closure.

Ignore the Forfeiture Order resulting in referral to Department of Justice for collection

File a Petition for Reconsideration or Application for Review

The Commission must issue a Memorandum Opinion and Order resolving the subject’s pleading.


Enforcement12

Enforcement

Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL)

Subject has a right to a trial de novo in federal district court where a federal district judge will issue a decision.


Enforcement13

Enforcement

Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL)

Forfeiture Amount Determination

Based Forfeiture Amounts (47 C.F.R. Section 1.80)

Guidelines for Accessing Forfeitures

Inability to pay (supported by tax statements)

History of compliance

Disclosure of violation prior to FCC investigation

Limits of Liability

$11,000 for each violation or each day of continuing violation, up to $87,500. (Broadcasters and Common Carriers have different limits)


Enforcement14

Enforcement

Based Forfeiture Amounts (47 C.F.R. 1.80)

Unlicensed Operation $10,000

Tower marking and/or lighting $10,000

Unauthorized substantial transfer of control $8,000

EAS equipment not installed or operational $8,000

Failure to permit inspection $7,000

Interference $7,000

Importation/marketing of unauthorized equipment $7,000

Exceeding of authorized antenna height $5,000

Unauthorized discontinuance of service $5,000

Use of unauthorized equipment $5,000

Exceeding power limits $4,000

Failure to respond to Commission communications $4,000

Unauthorized emissions $4,000

Using unauthorized frequency $4,000

Failure to engage in frequency coordination $4,000

Construction or operation at unauthorized location $4,000

Failure to make required measurements $2,000

Failure to provide station ID $1,000


Enforcement15

Enforcement

Consent Decrees

An agreement that sets forth the terms and conditions of acceptable behavior to which the party must conform.

Typically requested by the subject of an investigation.

Ensures violations are corrected.

Terminates the investigation and forfeiture process

Results in faster resolution of enforcement proceeding

The party generally does not admit wrongdoing but makes a contribution to the U.S. Treasury.


Enforcement16

Enforcement

Cease and Desist Orders

Generally for major violations.

Inherent in the Order is the threat of monetary penalties and possible revocation of the subject’s license if Order is not obeyed.

Typically used for those cases where subject refuses to comply.


Enforcement17

Enforcement

Revocation

Most serious enforcement sanction available.

Only for the most egregious types of offenses that raise questions about the licensee’s qualifications to be or remain a licensee.

Misrepresentation

Lack of candor

Repeated violation of the Act or Rules.

Must be preceded by Order to Show Cause obtained through an Administrative Law Judge.


Enforcement18

Enforcement

Criminal Prosecution

FCC has no authority to initiate criminal action against a subject.

Case must be referred to Department of Justice.

Only for those cases where agency’s other remedies have been ineffective.


Enforcement19

Enforcement

In Rem Process

Most often used for the seizure of radio transmitting equipment of unlicensed broadcast stations.

Requires that submittal of affidavit to Federal District Court

With the assistance of the Assistant US Attorney, FCC files a complaint requesting the issuance of an in rem seizure warrant.

Executed by the US Marshal Service.


Enforcement20

Enforcement

Back in the Day

All Sanctions drafted and released by Field Office.

Today

Process now involves a high level of legal and engineering review.


Enforcement21

Enforcement

Summary

Enforcement - Areas of Concentration

Public Safety and Homeland Security

Spectrum Enforcement

Investigation of Complaints

Sanction

Admonishment, Warning, Notice of Violation, and Citation

Notice of Apparent Liability/Forfeiture Order and Consent Decrees

Cease and Desist, License Revocation, Criminal Prosecution, In Rem


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