Senate passes anti-robocall bill in nearly unanimous vote

Cal Jeffrey

TS Evangelist
Staff member

The “Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act” or S 151 (aka the TRACED Act) looks to force telecoms to authenticate and block robocall and would impose higher fines and penalties on those who spam out calls using automated equipment. Penalties can go as high as $10,000 per call. The proposal also extends the statute of limitations from two years to three.

Roll Call notes, TRACED will give law enforcement the tools to pursue such scammers. If passed it would task the FCC, FTC, the departments of Justice, Commerce, State, Homeland Security, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other agencies with providing feedback to Congress on deterrence and prosecutorial measures that can be taken at the state and federal levels.

The bipartisan bill was sponsored by Republican John Thune from South Dakota and Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey.

"When a New England Patriots fan and a Green Bay Packers fan can work together, there's some hope for the country," Thune quipped after the vote.

Markey responded in kind saying, “There are no blue robocalls. There are no red robocalls. There are only robocalls that drive every family in America crazy every single day.”

The legislation looks to address a problem that has been getting increasing attention from the FCC of late. Although it has approval from the Senate, the House of Representative still needs to vote on it before it can be passed on to the White House to be signed into law. It is unclear how the bill will address robocallers outside the jurisdiction of the United States.

Image credit: CBS News

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Plutoisaplanet

TS Addict
I work at a college and at times (rarely) we use an automated emergency call/texting system to notify students, faculty, and staff (especially in a disaster situation, ie. safety or technology outage). I hope this bill has exceptions for when people manually signed themselves up for automated notifications.

EDIT: There are going to be whitelisted robocalls. Here's the except from the bill describing this:
(c) Safe harbor and other regulations.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—The Federal Communications Commission shall promulgate rules—
(A) establishing when a provider of voice service may block a voice call based, in whole or in part, on information provided by the call authentication framework under subsection (b);

(B) establishing a safe harbor for a provider of voice service from liability for unintended or inadvertent blocking of calls or for the unintended or inadvertent misidentification of the level of trust for individual calls based, in whole or in part, on information provided by the call authentication framework under subsection (b); and
(C) establishing a process to permit a calling party adversely affected by the information provided by the call authentication framework under subsection (b) to verify the authenticity of the calling party's calls.
Basically the FCC will decide on the specifics later but robocall makers will be able to verify themselves so they can be whitelisted (ie. in my college's case).
 
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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
I think part of the punishment for those that use these things is at least 1,000 hours of listening to constant Robo-calls ...... if it doesn't make them crazy, they will be ready to run for public office!
 

PEnnn

TS Addict
Nice, but do tell us about the loopholes and the exemptions.

But impost importantly, who was that imbecile who voted no??
 

VitalyT

Russ-Puss
97-1? I guess you've just found who's been doing it. Just kick his *** to death, no need for the bill then.
 

Plutoisaplanet

TS Addict

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Nice, but do tell us about the loopholes and the exemptions.

But impost importantly, who was that imbecile who voted no??
97-1? I guess you've just found who's been doing it. Just kick his *** to death, no need for the bill then.
It was Rand Paul from Kentucky: https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=116&session=1&vote=00127
:facepalm:I think he should be subject to those 1000 hours of robocalls suggested by @Uncle Al !:laughing:
 

OptimumSlinky

TS Addict
Nice, but do tell us about the loopholes and the exemptions.

But impost importantly, who was that imbecile who voted no??
97-1? I guess you've just found who's been doing it. Just kick his *** to death, no need for the bill then.
It was Rand Paul from Kentucky: https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=116&session=1&vote=00127
Something, something, free market, self-regulating, blah, blah, bullshit.