Author Archives: Jeffrey A. Franklin, Esq.

About Jeffrey A. Franklin, Esq.

Jeffrey A. Franklin serves clients in ways that maximize their opportunity to achieve their goals. Jeff has more than 20 years of experience, primarily in the areas of electric, gas, telecommunication, alternative energy, transportation and water regulation. He also has extensive experience in technology, Internet and computer law and e-discovery issues.

PaPUC Approves Three Applications for Permanent Operating Authority as Transportation Network Companies

puc_sealOn February 9, 2017, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved two applications for authority to operate as a Transportation Network Company (TNC) – increasing the total number of approved TNCs in Pennsylvania to three companies.

The Commission voted 5-0 to grant licenses to transport persons via TNC services to Lyft, Inc., which had previously been issued an experimental two-year authorization from the PUC.

The Commission also voted 5-0 to approve a license application submitted by Freed Man Autonomous Vehicles, LLC.

Previously, on Jan. 26, 2017, the Commission approved a TNC license application submitted by Rasier-PA, a wholly-owned affiliate of Uber Technologies, Inc.

The Commission oversees transportation services operating throughout Pennsylvania – including taxis, limousines and TNCs – with the exception of Philadelphia, where those activities are regulated by the Philadelphia Parking Authority. In December 2016 the Commission established an application process for new TNC licenses under Act 164 of 2016, which created the regulatory framework for TNCs to operate in Pennsylvania. Act 164 was signed into law by Governor Wolf in November 2016. Prior to that time, TNCs operated in most of Pennsylvania under experimental authority granted by the PUC.

In a joint statement issued at yesterday’s public meeting, PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown and Commissioner Robert F. Powelson took note of the growing number of TNCs now licensed to operate across Pennsylvania as the result of Act 164, emphasizing that innovative services are good for consumers, good for the transportation industry and good for business in the Commonwealth.

All of the TNCs approved by the Commission are required to maintain consumer protections and comply with all driver integrity, vehicle safety and insurance requirements set forth in the Public Utility Code or the Commission’s orders and regulations, along with all requirements established by Act 164. Additionally, to the extent that any autonomous vehicles or vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems and technologies are used, such vehicles shall be and shall remain in continuous compliance with all current and future vehicle safety rules and regulations issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

To learn how Prince Law Offices, P.C. can assist you or your business with PUC matters, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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First Step to Starting Your Business

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Prince Law Offices, P.C. attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin will be presenting at “First Step to Starting Your Business” in cooperation with the Kutztown University of Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center.
First Step to Starting Your Business (Lancaster, PA)
Date:Fri, February 17, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Point of Contact: Kutztown SBDC (877) 472-7232
Fee: None
Location: 454 New Holland Ave Suite 300 Lancaster, PA 17602
This workshop covers a number of critical issues relevant to starting and operating a small business. Professional presenters include attorneys, insurance agents, accountants, financial specialists and zoning and codes staff. The workshop is designed for both entrepreneurs thinking about opening their first business and existing business owners looking for a “checkup”.
Desire more specific assistance regarding your business formation, agreements, intellectual property, trademarks, zoning, real estate law, cyber security, insurance, etc., contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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Join Us at GlobalCon Energy Expo

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The GLOBALCON Expo will emphasize four critical areas of leading edge technology and related services:

  • Energy Management, HVAC and Smart Building Systems
  • Renewables, Alternative Energy and Onsite Generation
  • Lighting Efficiency and Integrated Energy Solutions
  • Plant and Facilities Management

GLOBALCON 2017, presented by the Association of Energy Engineers, is designed specifically to facilitate those seeking to expand their knowledge of fast-moving developments in the energy field, explore promising new technologies, compare energy supply options, and learn about innovative and cost-conscious project implementation strategies.  Get a Free Expo exhibits only pass for a limited time here: GLOBALCON Expo

March 22-23, 2017

Pennsylvania Convention Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Desire more specific assistance regarding CHP, Solar; renewable energy projects, energy law, or real estate law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business

ftcThe Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published an updated version of its Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business.

A sound data security plan is built on 5 key principles:

  1. TAKE STOCK. Know what personal information you have in your files and on your computers.
  2. SCALE DOWN. Keep only what you need for your business.
  3. LOCK IT. Protect the information that you keep.
  4. PITCH IT. Properly dispose of what you no longer need.
  5. PLAN AHEAD. Create a plan to respond to security incidents.

Most companies keep sensitive personal information in their files—names, Social Security numbers, credit card, or other account data—that identifies customers or employees.

This information often is necessary to fill orders, meet payroll, or perform other necessary business functions. However, if sensitive data falls into the wrong hands, it can lead to fraud, identity theft, or similar harms. Given the cost of a security breach—losing your customers’ trust and perhaps even defending yourself against a lawsuit—safeguarding personal information is just plain good business.

Some businesses may have the expertise in-house to implement an appropriate plan. Others may find it helpful to hire a contractor. Regardless of the size—or nature—of your business, the principles in this brochure will go a long way toward helping you keep data secure.

If you or your business have questions or concerns regarding fraud, computer law, privacy, or cybersecurity law matters, including assistance with policies, prevention or recovery from a ransomware attack and cybersecurity insurance or insurance claims, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices.

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FTC Charges D-Link Put Consumers’ Privacy at Risk Due to the Inadequate Security of Its Computer Routers and Cameras

Device-maker’s alleged failures to reasonably secure software created malware risks and other vulnerabilities

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint today against Taiwan-based computer networking equipment manufacturer D-Link Corporation and its U.S. subsidiary, alleging that inadequate security measures taken by the company left its wireless routers and Internet cameras vulnerable to hackers and put U.S. consumers’ privacy at risk.

In a complaint filed in the Northern District of California, the FTC charged that D-Link failed to take reasonable steps to secure its routers and Internet Protocol (IP) cameras, potentially compromising sensitive consumer information, including live video and audio feeds from D-Link IP cameras.

The complaint filed today is part of the FTC’s efforts to protect consumers’ privacy and security in the Internet of Things (IoT), which includes cases the agency has brought against ASUS, a computer hardware manufacturer, and TRENDnet, a marketer of video cameras.

“Hackers are increasingly targeting consumer routers and IP cameras — and the consequences for consumers can include device compromise and exposure of their sensitive personal information,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “When manufacturers tell consumers that their equipment is secure, it’s critical that they take the necessary steps to make sure that’s true.”

According to the FTC’s complaint, D-Link promoted the security of its routers on the company’s website, which included materials headlined “EASY TO SECURE” and “ADVANCED NETWORK SECURITY.” But despite the claims made by D-Link, the FTC alleged, the company failed to take steps to address well-known and easily preventable security flaws, such as:

  • “hard-coded” login credentials integrated into D-Link camera software — such as the username “guest” and the password “guest” — that could allow unauthorized access to the cameras’ live feed;
  • a software flaw known as “command injection” that could enable remote attackers to take control of consumers’ routers by sending them unauthorized commands over the Internet;
  • the mishandling of a private key code used to sign into D-Link software, such that it was openly available on a public website for six months; and
  • leaving users’ login credentials for D-Link’s mobile app unsecured in clear, readable text on their mobile devices, even though there is free software available to secure the information.

According to the complaint, hackers could exploit these vulnerabilities using any of several simple methods. For example, using a compromised router, an attacker could obtain consumers’ tax returns or other files stored on the router’s attached storage device. They could redirect a consumer to a fraudulent website, or use the router to attack other devices on the local network, such as computers, smartphones, IP cameras, or connected appliances.

The FTC alleges that by using a compromised camera, an attacker could monitor a consumer’s whereabouts in order to target them for theft or other crimes, or watch and record their personal activities and conversations.

These tips can help you secure your router:

  • Before you buy or replace a device, do research online. Use search engines to find reviews, but be skeptical about the source of the information. Is it from an impartial security expert, a consumer, or the company itself?
  • Download the latest security updates. To be secure and effective, update the software that comes with your device. Check the manufacturer’s website regularly for new software and updates.
  • Change your pre-set passwords. Change the device’s default password to something more complex and secure.

There are additional steps you can take to help keep your IP camera secure.

The FTC has provided guidance to IoT companies on how to preserve privacy and security in their products while still innovating and growing IoT technology.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint against D-Link Corporation and California-based D-Link Systems, Inc. was 2-1, with Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen voting no. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

NOTE: The FTC files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The case will be decided by a federal district court judge.

If you or your business have questions or concerns regarding fraud, computer law, privacy, or cybersecurity law matters, including assistance with policies, prevention or recovery from a ransomware attack and cybersecurity insurance or insurance claims, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices.

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SUNSHOT $$$ PRIZE: SOLAR IN YOUR COMMUNITY CHALLENGE

solar-in-your-community-challenge-heroThe SunShot Prize: Solar in Your Community Challenge is a prize competition that aims to expand solar electricity access to all Americans, especially underserved segments such as low- and moderate-income (LMI) households, state, local, and tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations. In order to make solar more accessible and inclusive for every American, the Challenge works to spur the development of new and innovative financial and business models that serve non-rooftop solar users such as community solar.

Offering $5 million in cash prizes and technical assistance over 18 months, the Challenge supports teams across the country to develop projects or programs that expand solar access to underserved groups, while proving that these business models can be widely replicated and adopted by similar groups.

Participation in the Challenge is open to:

  • Teams working to develop a portfolio of solar projects in their communities or create new solar programs that extend solar access to LMI households and nonprofits; and
  • Technical assistance providers (consultants and coaches) that assist teams throughout the 18-month challenge by providing the coaching and resources teams need to create innovative new business models.

The Solar in Your Community Challenge is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative and administered by The State University of New York (SUNY) Polytechnic Institute. Visit the Challenge website to learn more, apply, and get involved.

STRUCTURE AND PRIZES

Teams selected to participate in the challenge may receive three distinct types of awards: seed awards, technical assistance vouchers, and final prizes.

Teams will compete to win $1 million in Final Prizes, including a $500,000 Grand Prize for success in demonstrating a replicable and scalable model for low income solar. In addition, selected teams will receive approximately 50 cash seed awards totaling $2 million, and benefit from technical assistance resources and mentoring worth an additional $2 million. Teams will be evaluated based on their innovation, impact, expertise, team composition, plan, and progress. As teams are selected, seed awards (up to $60,000 per team) will be disbursed in increments based on completed milestones over an 18-month performance period.

In addition to final prizes, technical assistance providers (consultants and coaches) will be compensated depending on the extent to which challenge teams choose to use their services throughout the 18-month performance period.

Learn more about the prizes on the Challenge’s website.

RULES

Competing teams need to design and deploy new and scalable business and financial models through the demonstration of solar projects and programs in their communities. These projects and programs must directly benefit:

  • LMI households, with at least 20% of the energy and benefits assigned to LMI households; or
  • Non-profit organizations; state, local, or tribal governments; or community service organizations, with at least 60% of the energy and benefits assigned to one of these types of entities.

Photovoltaic (PV) systems must be completed during the 18-month performance period and should aggregate between 25 and 5,000 kilowatts (peak DC capacity). A single entity cannot not be assigned more than 1,000 kilowatts from a single solar energy system.

While 20% LMI customers is the minimum, teams with over 50% LMI customers will receive a bonus cash prize. DOE will also show preference for teams that aim to reach 100% LMI households or have 100% of the energy benefit nonprofit/governmental organizations as outlined in the evaluation criteria for winning prizes.

Read the official rules and learn more on the Challenge’s website.

TIMELINE

Release of Official Rules: November 18, 2016
Informational Webinar: November 29, 2016, 2:00pm ET
Early Application Deadline: January 6, 2017
Application Deadline: March 17, 2017
Late-Start Application Deadline: August 1, 2017
Seed Funding and Vouchers Awarded: April 2017
Technical Assistance Marketplace Opens: April 2017
18-month Performance Period Begins: May 1, 2017
18-month Performance Period Ends: October 31, 2018
Accepting Applications for Final Prizes: November 2018
Announcements of Final Prizes Winners (Expected): January 2019

Desire more specific assistance regarding CHP, Solar; renewable energy projects, energy law, or real estate law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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CHP-Equipped District Energy: A Winning Strategy for LEED and PEER

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Questions about energy efficiency LEED and PEER  and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) for your buildings?  Join us on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 2:00 PM EST for a free EPA CHP Partnership and U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) co-hosted webinar about CHP-equipped district energy in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal (PEER) rating systems.

This webinar will highlight:

  • The potential significant LEED point impact for buildings that connect to CHP-equipped district energy systems.
  • How buildings connected to district energy systems earn points in the LEED for Building Design and Construction: New Construction and Major Renovations rating system.
  • Overview of USGBC’s PEER rating system and how the energy-efficiency benefits of CHP-equipped district energy systems are recognized.
  • Opportunities to get involved with the development of LEED and PEER as they relate to district energy and CHP.

Register Now

Desire more specific assistance regarding CHP, renewable energy projects, energy law, or real estate law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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