Firm Asks FCC To Stay Form 323 Deadline Over Privacy Concerns
November 18, 2009 at 4:32 AM (PT)
WASHINGTON communications law firm FLETCHER, HEALD AND HILDRETH has filed a motion for a stay or holding in abeyance of the DECEMBER 15th deadline for filing of the new Form 323 ownership reports, complaining that the forms ask for too much private information for no clear reason and without adequate privacy procedures.
The form requires the submission of an entity's "FRN" number, a number that requires disclosure of individuals' Social Security numbers and companies' Taxpayer Identification Numbers and has heretofore not been required of entities that own only an attributable interest but are not directly required to pay regulatory fees.
The firm said in its motion that "the filing of such reports ... would require the unnecessary disclosure of private information by thousands of individuals. Disclosure of this information raises extremely serious privacy concerns, and has not been justified as serving any legitimate public interest benefit. And even if some legitimate justification could, arugendo, be shown to exist, the Commission in any event failed to comply with steps, mandated by the Administrative Procedure Act, necessary to impose such new obligations on regulatees. Moreover, the Commission has not yet completed the administrative procedures required to ensure the privacy of such information."