47 CFR § 1.731 - Confidentiality of information produced or exchanged.

§ 1.731 Confidentiality of information produced or exchanged.

(a) Any information produced in the course of a formal complaint proceeding may be designated as confidential by either party to the proceeding or a third party if the party believes in good faith that the materials fall within an exemption to disclosure contained in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(1) through (9), and under § 0.459 of this chapter. Any party asserting confidentiality for such materials must:

(1) Clearly mark each page, or portion thereof, for which a confidential designation is claimed. The party claiming confidentiality should restrict its designations to encompass only the specific information that it asserts is confidential. If a confidential designation is challenged, the party claiming confidentiality shall have the burden of demonstrating, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the materials designated as confidential fall under the standards for nondisclosure enunciated in the FOIA and that the designation is narrowly tailored to encompass only confidential information.

(2) File with the Commission, using the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System, a public version of the materials that redacts any confidential information and clearly marks each page of the redacted public version with a header stating “Public Version.” The redacted document shall be machine-readable whenever technically possible. Where the document to be filed electronically contains metadata that is confidential or protected from disclosure by a legal privilege (including, for example, the attorney-client privilege), the filer may remove such metadata from the document before filing it electronically.

(3) File with the Secretary's Office an unredacted hard copy version of the materials that contains the confidential information and clearly marks each page of the unredacted confidential version with a header stating “Confidential Version.” The unredacted version must be filed on the same day as the redacted version.

(4) Serve one hard copy of the filed unredacted materials and one hard copy of the filed redacted materials on the attorney of record for each party to the proceeding, or, where a party is not represented by an attorney, each party to the proceeding either by hand delivery, overnight delivery, or email, together with a proof of such service in accordance with the requirements of §§ 1.47(g) and 1.734(f).

(b) An attorney of record for a party or a party that receives unredacted materials marked as confidential may disclose such materials solely to the following persons, only for use in prosecuting or defending a party to the complaint action, and only to the extent necessary to assist in the prosecution or defense of the case:

(1) Support personnel for counsel of record representing the parties in the complaint action;

(2) Officers or employees of the receiving party who are directly involved in the prosecution or defense of the case;

(3) Consultants or expert witnesses retained by the parties; and

(4) Court reporters and stenographers in accordance with the terms and conditions of this section.

(c) The individuals identified in paragraph (b) of this section shall not disclose information designated as confidential to any person who is not authorized under this section to receive such information, and shall not use the information in any activity or function other than the prosecution or defense in the case before the Commission. Each such individual who is provided access to the information shall sign a declaration or affidavit stating that the individual has personally reviewed the Commission's rules and understands the limitations they impose on the signing party.

(d) Parties may make copies of materials marked confidential solely for use by the Commission or persons designated in paragraph (b) of this section. Each party shall maintain a log recording the number of copies made of all confidential material and the persons to whom the copies have been provided.

(e) The Commission may adopt a protective order with further restrictions as appropriate.

(f) Upon termination of a formal complaint proceeding, including all appeals and petitions, the parties shall ensure that all originals and reproductions of any confidential materials, along with the log recording persons who received copies of such materials, shall be provided to the producing party. In addition, upon final termination of the proceeding, any notes or other work product derived in whole or in part from the confidential materials of an opposing or third party shall be destroyed.

[83 FR 44832, Sept. 4, 2018]

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