McDowell: FCC Should Look Into Wrongdoing By Any Company

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Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell has weighed in on the News Corp. phone hacking scandal, saying thta if security breaches with cell phones become an issue Stateside, law enforcement agencies would be best-suited to check into it.

Asked in an interview for C-SPAN's Communicators series whether the FCC would have a role in loking at the security of cell phones if the issue "comes over to the states."--several members of Congress have called for investigations -- McDowell said if there is any wiretapping going on "anywhere, for any reason, by anybody," that is illegal and law enforcement agencies would be the best ones to be charged with looking into it. The FBI is reportedly doing just that.

He also said that Congress could conduct its own investigation. Rep. Anna Eshoo, for one, has called on the chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), to launch an investigation, but a spokesperson for the committee had not responded at press time on whether he would do so.

As to any FCC role, McDowell said that if there were a violation of one of its rules, "we should look at it," But he was quick to add that "right now, we don't have any evidence of any wrongdoing by anybody, regarding recent headlines, that I know of." But, he said, should evidence be presented and it is within the FCC's jurisdiction, "certainly we should examine it."

But McDowell stopped short of saying he agreed with the legislators that there should be an investigation. "I subscribe to the notion that Congress tells me what to do. I don't tell Congress what to do. So if there are members of Congress who want an investigation they are free to conduct their own. And the commission should abide by its own processes and if there is evidence of wrongdoing by any company, for anything, then we should look at it in due course."

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said earlier in the week that he did not anticipate the agency would be getting into the issue, but was not precluding it either.

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