Robocall Bill Sent to Full House Committee

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In an unanimous voice vote on Tuesday, the Communications and Technology Subcommittee sent the “Stopping Bad Robocalls Act” to the full House Energy and Commerce Committee. HR 3375 has several requirements that would affect carriers if passed.

“The bill requires carriers to adopt authentication technology so the number you see on the caller ID is really where the call is coming from,” said Subcommittee Chair Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA). The measure also seeks to limit the number of robocalls by requiring the FCC to update its rules and extends the statute of limitations, from one to three years, so the Department of Justice can go after illegal robocallers, he added.

“The rising tide of robocalls was once a nuisance. If we don’t get a handle on them I fear [they] will undermine our entire phone system,” said full Committee Chair Frank Pallone (R-NJ). He added the changes described in the measure would be enacted in a way that doesn’t leave rural areas behind. Many carriers and their associations back the bill, Pallone added.

Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR) noted, it also requires the FCC to enact rules to prevent companies from abusing exemptions for legitimate robocalls, such as alerting consumers about fraudulent use of credit cards, notifying parents about school closings and ride services.   

The subcommittee passed four amendments, including giving the FCC more tools to go after illegal robocallers and giving consumers more help to control calls, for no extra charge. One amendment requires the Commission to publish an annual report on industry efforts to traceback calls to their origin, “and hold carriers accountable for robocalls,” said G.K. Butterfield (D-NC). The list would also name carriers, “who are not engaging in adequate efforts to stop” robocalls, said Bill Johnson (R-FL).

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief

June 26, 2019

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