Federal Communications Commission Chair Jessica Rosenworcel on Friday announced a partnership with the Connecticut Attorney General’s office to strengthen consumer privacy, data protection and cybersecurity enforcement.
Connecticut joins several other states — including Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania — that have already partnered with the federal agency to coordinate efforts in conducting privacy, data-protection and cybersecurity-related investigations to better protect consumers.
“Consumers have a right to know and control how their personal information is used, stored, and protected, and companies who violate that trust must be held accountable,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a press release. “This powerful new partnership between our states and the Federal Communication Commission is a recognition of the growing importance of this critical work.”
Tong signed a memorandum of understanding pledging to “share close and common legal interests in working cooperatively to investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute or otherwise take enforcement action in relation to privacy, data protection, or cybersecurity issues.”
During consumer protection investigations, both the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau and state investigators track down records, talk to witnesses, interview targets and examine consumer complaints to build cases against suspected bad actors.
The agreement formalizes cooperation Connecticut and the federal agency, which offers critical investigative tools, including subpoenas and confidential response letters from suspected targets.
The move comes as the Enforcement Bureau, part of the FCC’s Privacy and Data Protection Task Force, combats a steep rise in cyberattacks targeting consumer data and coordinated campaigns that compromise technology vendors and their products.
The threat of ransomware has only grown in 2023, according to a recent report commissioned by Apple that found 70% more data breaches were disclosed in the first nine months of 2023 than in any prior year in the United States. Experts found that there were more ransomware attacks in September than in all of 2022.
And it’s not just ransomware: Americans got 12 billion robotexts in September alone — a 9% increase from the previous month, according to RoboKiller, an app that blocks spam calls and texts.
“Defending consumer privacy is an all-of-government responsibility and a shared challenge,” said FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel. “Today we take on evolving consumer threats with new formal partnerships with state law enforcement leaders, which have already been successful in obtaining record-breaking results in combating illegal robocalls.”
Rosenworcel created the Privacy and Data Protection Task Force in June to work on privacy and data protection issues under the Communications Act. The task force focuses on the policy, enforcement and public awareness needs regarding privacy and data-protection activities, including data breaches, ransomware attacks and robocalls.