The Senate Thursday approved a bill to bolster the FCC’s ability to stop illegal robocalls. The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act gives regulators more time to find scammers, increases civil forfeiture penalties for those who are 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.
U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-SD), a member and former chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and current chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, and Ed Markey (D-MA), also a member of the Commerce Committee, wrote the measure (S. 151).
“This bipartisan, common-sense bill puts a bullseye on the scam artists and criminals who are making it difficult for many Americans to answer the phone with any bit of confidence about who’s on the other end of the line,” said Thune. “The Senate is telling robocallers that their days are numbered,” added Markey.
“We would welcome these additional tools to fight this scourge,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in response to the Senate action. “Further powers like increased fines, longer statutes of limitations, and removing citation requirements which obligate us to warn some robocallers before penalizing them, will significantly improve our already strong robocall enforcement efforts.”
USTelecom leads the Industry Traceback Group, nearly 30 participants from across the wireline, wireless, VoIP and cable industries that trace and identify the source of illegal robocalls and coordinates with federal and state law enforcement agencies to bring perpetrators to justice. USTelecom President/CEO Jonathan Spalter called the Senate passage, “a very big deal for industry’s multi-pronged effort to battle back against illegal robocalls.” The Senate, he said, “delivered a loud and clear message to the criminals who scam and spoof consumers: more blocking, more fines and more criminal enforcement is coming.”
May 24, 2019