The Federalist Society

Telecommunications & Electronic Media

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Executive Committee Contact Information


  • Common Carrier
  • International Developments
  • Internet
  • Mass Media

Upcoming Events

   Second Annual Executive Branch Review Conference

Recent Publications

   FTC v. Wyndham Worldwide: The Limits FTC “Unfairness” Authority and the Future of Cyber and Data Security Enforcement - Podcast


Between 2008 and 2010, cyber criminals breached the computer networks of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, stealing customer payment card data and initiating a legal battle with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC claimed that Wyndham’s allegedly lax security practices violated Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, prohibiting “unfair or deceptive acts or practices.” Wyndham countered with a motion to dismiss, asserting, among other things, that the FTC’s “unfairness” authority does not confer jurisdiction over data security, particularly in the absence of binding FTC rules or guidance.

The first round of the battle has now ended in favor of the FTC. On April 7, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey denied Wyndham’s motion to dismiss and affirmed FTC jurisdiction.

What happens now and where should the private sector attention be focused? In the absence of clear rules or guidance, how should companies proceed? How does FTC enforcement interact with congressional efforts to clarify agency authority over data security, and Executive Branch action on cyber?


  • Megan L. Brown, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP
  • Karen R. Harned, Executive Director, National Federation of Independent Business Legal Foundation
  • Moderator: Scott D. Delacourt, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP

[Listen now!]

   The Internet: Are We Losing Control? - Podcast


On March 14, 2014, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its plan to transition its key internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community. It has asked the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to commence the multistakeholder process to develop the transition plan.

NTIA administers changes to the authoritative root zone file – the database containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains – and serves as the historic steward of the Domain Name System. NTIA currently contracts with ICANN to carry out the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions and has a cooperative agreement with Verisign under which it performs related root zone management functions. ICANN’s government contract expires September 30, 2015. NTIA has indicated that ICANN’s transition plan must adhere to four principles. It must:

  • Support and enhance the multistakeholder model
  • Maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet DNS
  • Meet the needs and expectations of the global customers and partners of the IANA services
  • Maintain the openness of the internet

In this Teleforum, we discussed the implications of this pending transition and its potential impact on a free and open internet.


  • Hon. John M.R. Kneuer, President and Founder, Kneuer LLC
  • Patricia J. Paoletta, Partner, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP

[Listen now!]

   Communications Act Reform - Podcast

communications dish

In December 2013, Rep. Fred Upton, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman, and Rep. Greg Walden, Chairman of the Committee's Communications and Technology Subcommittee, announced plans to use 2014 to begin a review process leading to an update of the Communications Act of 1934.  Rep. Walden announced in a news release that the committee plans “to look at the Communications Act and all of the changes that have been made piecemeal over the last 89 years and ask the simple question: ‘Is this working for today’s communications marketplace?’”  The statute has not been changed in any material way since 1996, when the internet was just beginning to be used on a widespread basis and broadband services were only then emerging.

The participants in this Teleforum addressed fundamental questions, such as: whether an update to the Communications Act is needed and why; if an update is desirable, what a new Communications Act should like, including, more specifically, how the structure of the act should be changed along with the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission.


  • Mr. Shawn H. Chang, Majority Counsel, Communications and Technology Policy, Committee on Energy and Commerce, United States House of Representatives
  • Mr. Randolph J. May, President, The Free State Foundation
  • Mr. David Redl, Chief Counsel for Communications and Technology, Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives

[Listen now!]

   Book Review: America the Vulnerable: Inside the New Threat Matrix of Digital Espionage, Crime, and Warfare

America the Vulnerable: Inside the New Threat Matrix of Digital Espionage, Crime, and WarfareAmerica the Vulnerable, Joel Brenner’s call to arms in our nation’s ongoing cyber-crisis, is both a diagnosis and a potential cure. Brenner, who served as senior counsel at the National Security Agency as well as in other high-level government positions, knows first-hand the dire challenge facing our government when it comes to cybersecurity. Much of his book provides a detailed—and chilling—depiction of our nation’s overall vulnerability to cyber-attack....[Read Now!]

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