Code Section Group

Public Utilities Code - PUC

DIVISION 1. REGULATION OF PUBLIC UTILITIES [201 - 3260]

  ( Division 1 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

PART 2. SPECIFIC PUBLIC UTILITIES [2701 - 2897]

  ( Part 2 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

CHAPTER 10. Telephone Corporations [2871 - 2897]

  ( Heading of Chapter 10 renumbered from Chapter 8 (as renumbered from Chapter 9 by Stats. 1979, Ch. 373) by Stats. 1980, Ch. 373, Sec. 4. )

ARTICLE 3. Customer Right of Privacy [2891 - 2894.10]
  ( Article 3 added by Stats. 1986, Ch. 821, Sec. 2. )

2891.
  

(a) No telephone or telegraph corporation shall make available to any other person or corporation, without first obtaining the residential subscriber’s consent, in writing, any of the following information:

(1) The subscriber’s personal calling patterns, including any listing of the telephone or other access numbers called by the subscriber, but excluding the identification to the person called of the person calling and the telephone number from which the call was placed, subject to the restrictions in Section 2893, and also excluding billing information concerning the person calling which federal law or regulation requires a telephone corporation to provide to the person called.

(2) The residential subscriber’s credit or other personal financial information, except when the corporation is ordered by the commission to provide this information to any electrical, gas, heat, telephone, telegraph, or water corporation, or centralized credit check system, for the purpose of determining the creditworthiness of new utility subscribers.

(3) The services which the residential subscriber purchases from the corporation or from independent suppliers of information services who use the corporation’s telephone or telegraph line to provide service to the residential subscriber.

(4) Demographic information about individual residential subscribers, or aggregate information from which individual identities and characteristics have not been removed.

(b) Any residential subscriber who gives his or her written consent for the release of one or more of the categories of personal information specified in subdivision (a) shall be informed by the telephone or telegraph corporation regarding the identity of each person or corporation to whom the information has been released, upon written request. The corporation shall notify every residential subscriber of the provisions of this subdivision whenever consent is requested pursuant to this subdivision.

(c) Any residential subscriber who has, pursuant to subdivision (b), given written consent for the release of one or more of the categories of personal information specified in subdivision (a) may rescind this consent upon submission of a written notice to the telephone or telegraph corporation. The corporation shall cease to make available any personal information about the subscriber, within 30 days following receipt of notice given pursuant to this subdivision.

(d) This section does not apply to any of the following:

(1) Information provided by residential subscribers for inclusion in the corporation’s directory of subscribers.

(2) Information customarily provided by the corporation through directory assistance services.

(3) Postal ZIP Code information.

(4) Information provided under supervision of the commission to a collection agency by the telephone corporation exclusively for the collection of unpaid debts.

(5) Information provided to an emergency service agency responding to a 911 telephone call or any other call communicating an imminent threat to life or property.

(6) Information provided to a law enforcement agency in response to lawful process.

(7) Information which is required by the commission pursuant to its jurisdiction and control over telephone and telegraph corporations.

(8) Information transmitted between telephone or telegraph corporations pursuant to the furnishing of telephone service between or within service areas.

(9) Information required to be provided by the corporation pursuant to rules and orders of the commission or the Federal Communications Commission regarding the provision over telephone lines by parties other than the telephone and telegraph corporations of telephone or information services.

(10) The name and address of the lifeline customers of a telephone corporation provided by that telephone corporation to a public utility for the sole purpose of low-income ratepayer assistance outreach efforts. The telephone corporation receiving the information request pursuant to this paragraph may charge the requesting utility for the cost of the search and release of the requested information.

(11) Information provided in response to a request pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 530.8 of the Penal Code.

(e) Every violation is a grounds for a civil suit by the aggrieved residential subscriber against the telephone or telegraph corporation and its employees responsible for the violation.

(f) For purposes of this section, “access number” means a telex, teletex, facsimile, computer modem, or any other code which is used by a residential subscriber of a telephone or telegraph corporation to direct a communication to another subscriber of the same or another telephone or telegraph corporation.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 612, Sec. 59. Effective January 1, 2016.)

2891.1.
  

(a) Notwithstanding Section 2891, a telephone corporation selling or licensing lists of residential subscribers shall not include the telephone number of any subscriber assigned an unlisted or unpublished access number. A subscriber may waive all or part of the protection provided by this subdivision through written notice to the telephone corporation.

(b) Notwithstanding Section 2891, a provider of mobile telephony services, or any direct or indirect affiliate or agent of a provider, providing the name and dialing number of a subscriber for inclusion in any directory of any form, or selling the contents of any directory database, or any portion or segment thereof, shall not include the dialing number of any subscriber without first obtaining the express consent of that subscriber. The express consent shall meet all of the following requirements:

(1) It shall be one of the following:

(A) A separate document that is signed and dated by the subscriber, and that is not attached to any other document.

(B) An affirmative response made on a separate field on an Internet Web site where there is no default. The provider of mobile telephony services shall send a confirmation notice to the subscriber’s electronic mail address, or to a subscriber’s postal mail address if the subscriber does not have an electronic mail account.

(2) It shall be unambiguous, legible, and conspicuously disclose that, by opting in, the subscriber is consenting to have the subscriber’s dialing number sold or licensed as part of a list of subscribers and the subscriber’s dialing number may be included in a publicly available directory.

(3) If, under the subscriber’s calling plan, the subscriber may be billed for receiving unsolicited calls or text messaging from a telemarketer, the provider’s form shall include an unambiguous and legible disclosure statement that, by consenting to have the subscriber’s dialing number sold or licensed as part of a list of subscribers or included in a publicly available directory, the subscriber may incur additional charges for receiving unsolicited calls or text messages.

(c) Nothing in this section prohibits a subscriber of mobile telephony services from voluntarily entering into an agreement for the placement of his or her name and mobile telephony dialing number in any advertising program if the agreement satisfies the express consent requirements of this section.

(d) A subscriber who provides express prior consent pursuant to subdivision (b) may revoke that consent at any time. A provider of mobile telephony services shall comply with the subscriber’s request to opt out within a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 60 days.

(e) A subscriber shall not be charged for making the choice to not have their name and mobile telephony dialing number be listed in a publicly available directory assistance database.

(f) This section does not apply to the provision of telephone numbers to the following parties for the purposes indicated:

(1) To a collection agency, to the extent disclosures made by the agency are supervised by the commission, exclusively for the collection of unpaid debts.

(2) (A) To any law enforcement agency, fire protection agency, public health agency, public environmental health agency, city or county emergency services planning agency, or private for-profit agency operating under contract with, and at the direction of, one or more of these agencies, for the exclusive purpose of responding to a 911 call or communicating an imminent threat to life or property.

(B) Any information or records provided to a private for-profit agency pursuant to this subdivision shall be held in confidence by that agency and by any individual employed by or associated with that agency. This information or these records shall not be open to examination for any purpose not directly connected with the administration of the services specified in subdivision (e) of Section 2872 or this paragraph.

(3) To a lawful process issued under state or federal law.

(4) To a telephone corporation providing service between service areas for the provision to the subscriber of telephone service between service areas, or to third parties for the limited purpose of providing billing services.

(5) To a telephone corporation to effectuate a customer’s request to transfer the customer’s assigned telephone number from the customer’s existing provider of telecommunications services to a new provider of telecommunications services.

(6) To the commission pursuant to its jurisdiction and control over telephone and telegraph corporations.

(g) Every deliberate violation of this section is grounds for a civil suit by the aggrieved subscriber against the organization or corporation and its employees responsible for the violation.

(h) For purposes of this section, “unpublished or unlisted access number” means a telephone, telex, teletex, facsimile, computer modem, or any other code number that is assigned to a subscriber by a telephone or telegraph corporation for the receipt of communications initiated by other telephone or telegraph customers and that the subscriber has requested that the telephone or telegraph corporation keep in confidence.

(i) No telephone corporation, nor any official or employee thereof, shall be subject to criminal or civil liability for the release of customer information as authorized by this section.

(Amended by Stats. 2005, Ch. 495, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2006.)

2891.2.
  

Telephone subscribers shall be annually notified that use of an “800” or “900” telephone number may result in the disclosure of the subscriber’s telephone number to the called party. The commission shall, by rule or order, impose the responsibility for the notification with the telephone corporation that offers the caller identification service, often known as automatic number identification, in connection with an “800” or “900” service.

(Added by Stats. 1993, Ch. 351, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1994.)

2892.1.
  

(a) For purposes of this section, “telecommunications service” means voice communication provided by a telephone corporation as defined in Section 234, voice communication provided by a provider of satellite telephone services, voice communication provided by a provider of mobile telephony service, as defined in Section 2890.2, and voice communication provided by a commercially available facilities-based provider of voice communication services utilizing Voice over Internet Protocol or any successor protocol.

(b) The commission, in consultation with the Office of Emergency Services, shall open an investigative or other appropriate proceeding to identify the need for telecommunications service systems not on the customer’s premises to have backup electricity to enable telecommunications networks to function and to enable the customer to contact a public safety answering point operator during an electrical outage, to determine performance criteria for backup systems, and to determine whether the best practices recommended by the Network Reliability and Interoperability Council in December 2005, for backup systems have been implemented by telecommunications service providers operating in California. If the commission determines it is in the public interest, the commission shall, consistent with subdivisions (c) and (d), develop and implement performance reliability standards.

(c) The commission, in developing any standards pursuant to the proceeding required by subdivision (b), shall consider current best practices and technical feasibility for establishing battery backup requirements.

(d) The commission shall not implement standards pursuant to the proceeding required by subdivision (b) unless it determines that the benefits of the standards exceed the costs.

(e) The commission shall determine the feasibility of the use of zero greenhouse gas emission fuel cell systems to replace diesel backup power systems.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 842, Sec. 48. Effective January 1, 2017.)

2892.3.
  

(a) The commission shall require providers of mobile telephony service, as defined in Section 224.4, to report to the commission, as specified by the commission, on activities associated with customer fraud.

(b) Each report shall include a description of the types of fraud occurring, the amount of revenues that have been uncollectible because of fraud, and the actions undertaken by the mobile telephony service provider to combat fraud.

(c) The commission shall require mobile telephony service providers to provide their subscribers with a notice, to be reviewed by the commission, warning subscribers about problems associated with fraud, and informing them about ways to protect against fraud.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 198, Sec. 21. Effective January 1, 2007.)

2892.5.
  

(a) As used in this section “public safety agency” means a “public safety agency” as defined in Section 53102 of the Government Code.

(b) A provider of commercial mobile radio service, as defined in Section 216.8, may enter into a contract with a public safety agency to give the transmissions of public safety agency end users of that service priority over the transmissions of other persons or entities. The contract shall comply with applicable federal law.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 198, Sec. 22. Effective January 1, 2007.)

2893.
  

(a) The commission shall, by rule or order, require that every telephone call identification service offered in this state by a telephone corporation, or by any other person or corporation that makes use of the facilities of a telephone corporation, shall allow a caller to withhold display of the caller’s telephone number, on an individual basis, from the telephone instrument of the individual receiving the telephone call placed by the caller. However a caller shall not be allowed to withhold the display of the caller’s business telephone number when that number is being used for telemarketing purposes.

(b) There shall be no charge to the caller who requests that his or her telephone number be withheld from the recipient of any call placed by the caller.

(c) The commission shall direct every telephone corporation to notify its subscribers that their calls may be identified to a called party either:

(1) Thirty or more days before the telephone corporation commences to participate in the offering of a call identification service.

(2) By March 1, 1990, if the telephone corporation is participating in a call identification service prior to January 1, 1990.

(d) This section does not apply to any of the following:

(1) An identification service which is used within the same limited system, including, but not limited to, a Centrex or private branch exchange (PBX) system, as the recipient telephone.

(2) An identification service which is used on a public agency’s emergency telephone line or on the line which receives the primary emergency telephone number (911).

(3) Any identification service provided in connection with legally sanctioned call tracing or tapping procedures.

(4) Any identification service provided in connection with any “800” or “900” access code telephone service until the telephone corporation develops the technical capability to comply with subdivision (a), as determined by the commission.

(e) Until the market for local telephone service is competitive, a telephone corporation shall not charge any subscriber for having an unlisted or unpublished telephone number. However, nothing in this subdivision shall be interpreted by the commission to reduce the revenues of telephone corporations. Any actions of the commission pursuant to this subdivision shall be implemented on a competitively neutral basis. This charge shall not be eliminated prior to the effective date upon which offsetting rates are implemented by the commission.

(Amended by Stats. 1996, Ch. 675, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1997.)

2894.
  

(a) Notwithstanding subdivision (e) of Section 2891, the disclosure of any information by an interexchange telephone corporation, a local exchange telephone corporation, or a provider of commercial mobile radio service, as defined in Section 216.8, in good faith compliance with the terms of a state or federal court warrant or order or administrative subpoena issued at the request of a law enforcement official or other federal, state, or local governmental agency for law enforcement purposes, is a complete defense against any civil action brought under this chapter or any other law, including, but not limited to, Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 630) of Part 1 of Title 15 of the Penal Code, for the wrongful disclosure of that information.

(b) As used in this section the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) “Interexchange telephone corporation” means a telephone corporation that is a long-distance carrier.

(2) “Local exchange telephone corporation” means a telephone corporation that provides local exchange services.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 198, Sec. 23. Effective January 1, 2007.)

2894.10.
  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares that a number of federal and state laws have been enacted to protect residential telephone subscribers’ privacy rights with respect to telephone solicitations. Various governmental agencies publish information that generally describes telephone subscribers’ rights under these laws. Examples of publications include the Federal Trade Commission’s brochure, “Straight Talk About Telemarketing,” and the Federal Communications Commission’s publication, “Consumer News, What You Can Do About Unsolicited Telephone Marketing Calls and Faxes.” The Legislature intends that telephone subscribers be provided with information regarding their privacy rights, under state and federal law, with respect to telephone solicitations.

(b) Every local exchange telephone corporation shall provide its residential customers with information regarding state and federal laws that protect the privacy rights of residential telephone subscribers with respect to telephone solicitations by providing on an annual basis one or more of the following items of information in the billing statement of each residential customer and in conspicuous notices in the consumer information pages of the local telephone directories distributed by that telephone corporation:

(1) A copy of a publication prepared by the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Public Utilities Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, or any other federal or state governmental agency that generally describes telephone subscribers’ privacy rights, under state and federal laws, with respect to telephone solicitations.

(2) A list of the titles of the publications identified in paragraph (1) and information on how to obtain those publications.

(c) A provider of local exchange service shall not be subject to any penalties if the provider makes a good faith effort to provide or identify the publications described in subdivision (b).

(Added by Stats. 1998, Ch. 473, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1999.)

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