FCC Creates Consumer Task Force

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The Federal Communications Commission has created a consumer task force that will be chaired by new Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau chief Joel Gurin, former journalist and long-time Consumer Reports staffer.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said that the task force would include the heads of all the bureaus as well as the FCC's managing director and general counsel. He said that the task force would play an "essential role" in making sure that a consumer focus applied to "consistently and reasonably" across technologies and bureaus and so the public could "fully engage" in and understand FCC processes.

Genachowski said it was "excellent" that the FCC had a consumer-focused bureau, but said this would send the message that the focus extended "across all agencies." Genachowski said he expected a lot out of the task force.

FCC commissioner Michael Copps praised that consumer focus. "Our blissfull blessing of evermore media consolidation was a costly assault on consumer and citizen well-being," he said as example. Considering consumer impact as standard operating procedure going forward is an important change in policy, he said. "I think you can tell I am pleased," he said to the chairman.

Commissioner Robert McDowell called the task force a "great step forward." Ditto Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Meredith Attwell Baker.

McDowell also praised the chairman for including the text of proposed rules in proposed rulemakings, saying the FCC should to it with all such proposals.

The FCC kicked off the meeting with a consumer-focused rule proposal about limiting pre-recorded so-called "robocalls," an item that included the text of the proposed rules, which prompted McDowell's shout-out.

That proposal, dealing with calls that Baker said come at "inconvenient times and annoying times," was approved unanimously.

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