On Thursday, the United States House of Representatives introduced a bill to crack down on robocalls. The bipartisan bill titled, “Stopping Bad Robocalls Act” would require carriers to do more about the problem while providing for stricter punishments for call spammers.
The law, sponsored by Democrat chairman of the Energy and Commerce Frank Pallone, Jr and ranking Republican member Greg Walden, would require telecom providers authenticate and offer “opt-out” blocking (blocking by default) at no charge to the consumer. The bill also provides for a level of transparency so that customers can see who is calling in case a legitimate call is accidentally flagged as spam.
The measure would lengthen the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) statute of limitations on robocall violations. It also calls for the Commission to introduce rules to protect consumers from automated calls, monitor and tighten exemptions, and regularly report to Congress on the implementation of its reassigned numbers database.
"Americans deserve to be free of the daily danger and harassment of robocalls. It’s time we end the robocall epidemic and restore trust back into our phone system."
If it sounds familiar, that’s because last month the US Senate passed a similar proposal called the “Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act” (or TRACED Act). The only difference is the Senate bill does not impose additional rules on the FCC.
The two measures seem redundant, so a rewriting incorporating provisions from both into one bill that can be passed by both House and Senate seems in order before sending it to the President's desk for approval.
Bills, laws, and regulations that fight against robocalls have had no problem finding bipartisan support. In addition to the Senate bill, the FCC unanimously voted to allow carriers to block robocalls aggressively, including opt-out auto-blocking.