Today: US Senate TRACED Act on Illegal Robocall Scams, NTIA Broadband Workshop, NTIA Privacy Comments
US Senate TRACED Act on Illegal Robocall Scams
U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) announced the introduction of S. 3655, the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act. The Act gives regulators more time to find scammers, increases civil forfeiture penalties for those caught, promotes call authentication and blocking adoption, and brings relevant federal agencies and state attorneys general together to address impediments to criminal prosecution of robocallers who intentionally flout laws.
Specifically, the Act:
- Broadens the authority of the FCC to levy civil penalties of up to $10,000 per call who intentionally flout telemarketing restrictions.
- Extends the time for the FCC to take civil enforcement action against intentional violations to three years after a robocall is placed. (Under current law the FCC has only one year to do so.)
- Brings together the Department of Justice, FCC, Federal Trade Commission, Department of Commerce, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other relevant federal agencies as well as state attorneys general and other non-federal entities to identify and report to Congress on improving deterrence and criminal prosecution at the federal and state level of robocall scams.
- Requires providers of voice services to adopt call authentication technologies, enabling a telephone carrier to verify that incoming calls are legitimate before they reach consumers’ phones.
- Directs the FCC to initiate a rulemaking to help protect subscribers from receiving unwanted calls or texts from callers using unauthenticated numbers.
“The TRACED Act targets robocall scams and other intentional violations of telemarketing laws so that when authorities do catch violators, they can be held accountable,” said Thune. “Existing civil penalty rules were designed to impose penalties on lawful telemarketers who make mistakes. This enforcement regime is totally inadequate for scam artists and we need do more to separate enforcement of carelessness and other mistakes from more sinister actors.”
“As the scourge of spoofed calls and robocalls reaches epidemic levels, the bipartisan TRACED Act will provide every person with a phone much needed relief,” said Markey. “It’s a simple formula: call authentication, blocking, and enforcement, and this bill achieves all three. I thank Chairman Thune for his partnership on this effort, and look forward to seeing this legislation through to its passage.”
NTIA Broadband Workshop
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) announced its BroadbandUSA Program will host a Broadband Workshop in Carson City, Nevada on January 11, 2019. The purpose of the Workshop is to engage the public and stakeholders with information to accelerate broadband connectivity, improve digital inclusion, and support local priorities. The Workshop will provide information on topics including local broadband planning, funding, and engagement with service providers. Speakers and attendees from Nevada, federal agencies, and across the country will come together to explore ways to facilitate the expansion of broadband capacity, access, and utilization.
NTIA Privacy Comments Released
NTIA released comments it received in response to a September 25, 2018, request for comment on a high-level framework for protecting consumer data privacy. NTIA received over 200 comments from individuals, industry associations, companies, civil society, and academics. The goal of the proceeding is to provide high levels of protection for individuals, while giving organizations legal clarity and the flexibility to innovate. Among other things, NTIA sought comment on various outcomes including that organizations should be transparent about how they collect users’ personal information, that users should be able to exercise control over their personal information, and organizations should take steps to manage the risk of disclosure or other harmful uses of personal data. Inteserra Briefing Service subscribers see Briefing dated 9/28/18.
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.