Consumers (1 - 10 of 22 items)
Smartphone Data: Information and Issues Regarding Surreptitious Tracking Apps That Can Facilitate Stalking
GAO-16-317: Published: Apr 21, 2016. Publicly Released: May 9, 2016.
GAO found that the majority of the reviewed websites for smartphone tracking applications (apps) marketed their products to parents or employers to track the location of their children or employees, respectively, or to monitor them in other ways, such as intercepting their smartphone communications. Several tracking apps were marketed to individuals for the purpose of tracking or intercepting the...
Statutory Copyright Licenses: Stakeholders' Views on a Phaseout of Licenses for Broadcast Programming
GAO-16-496: Published: May 4, 2016. Publicly Released: May 4, 2016.
A phaseout of the statutory licenses for broadcast programming may be feasible for most participants in the video marketplace, although there may be statutory implications for the “carriage requirements” governing which local broadcast television stations are carried by cable and satellite operators. These licenses allow cable and satellite operators to carry copyrighted content, such as telev...
Internet Protocol Transition: FCC Should Strengthen Its Data Collection Efforts to Assess the Transition's Effects
GAO-16-167: Published: Dec 16, 2015. Publicly Released: Dec 16, 2015.
As the nation's telecommunications systems transition from legacy telephone networks to Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks, telecommunications carriers can face challenges during times of crisis that affect end users' ability to call 911 and receive emergency communications. These challenges include (1) preserving consumer service and (2) supporting existing emergency communications services an...
Accessible Communications: FCC Should Evaluate the Effectiveness of Its Public Outreach Efforts
GAO-15-574: Published: Jun 25, 2015. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 2015.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established accessibility complaint and enforcement procedures within the time frames mandated by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) to ensure that people with disabilities would have access to advanced communications. FCC's complaint and enforcement procedures enable consumers to file (1) a pre-complaint Request f...
Broadband Performance: Additional Actions Could Help FCC Evaluate Its Efforts to Inform Consumers
GAO-15-363: Published: Apr 17, 2015. Publicly Released: May 15, 2015.
Consumers can access broadband performance information from several sources, including Internet service providers (ISP), online speed tests, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); however, the information has some limitations. For example:ISP information: FCC's transparency rule requires ISPs to disclose broadband performance information, but ISPs' disclosures vary, and some stakeholder...
Telecommunications: FCC Should Evaluate the Efficiency and Effectiveness of the Lifeline Program
GAO-15-335: Published: Mar 24, 2015. Publicly Released: Apr 23, 2015.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has made progress implementing reforms to the Lifeline Program (Lifeline), which reduces the cost of telephone service for eligible low-income households. In 2012, FCC adopted a Reform Order with 11 key reforms that aimed to increase accountability and strengthen internal controls, among other things. FCC has implemented seven of the reforms and partiall...
Mobile Devices: Federal Agencies' Steps to Improve Mobile Access to Government Information and Services
GAO-15-69: Published: Dec 22, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 22, 2014.
According to Pew Research Center, in 2013, some demographic groups relied more on cellphones to access the Internet than others. Those who are young, earn more income, have a graduate degree, or are African American had the highest rate of mobile access. In contrast, according to Pew, those who used cellphones to access the Internet in 2013 at lower rates tended to be seniors, the less educated, o...
Broadband Internet: FCC Should Track the Application of Fixed Internet Usage-Based Pricing and Help Improve Consumer Education
GAO-15-108: Published: Nov 24, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 2, 2014.
Based on an analysis of consumer data plans of the top 13 fixed—in home—and 4 mobile Internet providers, GAO found that mobile providers employ usage-based pricing (UBP) more commonly than fixed. Under UBP, providers can charge varying prices, change connection speeds, or take other actions based on Internet data consumed. The 4 largest mobile providers in the country all use UBP to some exten...
Telecommunications: FCC Should Improve the Accountability and Transparency of High-Cost Program Funding
GAO-14-587: Published: Jul 22, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 22, 2014.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has implemented four industry-wide reforms and the initial phases of two carrier-specific reforms for the Universal Service Fund's (USF) high-cost program. However, FCC has encountered delays implementing the subsequent phases and more complex carrier-specific funding reforms that require extensive cost modeling and stakeholder input. For example, althou...
Consumers' Location Data: Companies Take Steps to Protect Privacy, but Practices Are Inconsistent, and Risks May Not be Clear to Consumers
GAO-14-649T: Published: Jun 4, 2014. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 2014.
Fourteen mobile industry companies and 10 in-car navigation providers that GAO examined in its 2012 and 2013 reports—including mobile carriers and auto manufacturers with the largest market share and popular application developers—collect location data and use or share them to provide consumers with location-based services and improve consumer services. For example, mobile carriers and applica...