On Wednesday, in a lopsided 429-3 vote, the House passed a bill that will stop bad robocalls.
The Stopping Bad Robocalls Act states that it will “ensure calls made and text messages sent using automatic telephone dialing systems and calls made using an artificial or prerecorded voice are made or sent (as the case may be) with consent” that “consumers can withdraw consent for such calls and text messages,” and that “circumvention or evasion of such section is prevented.”
The bill adds, “If the Chief of the Enforcement Bureau of the Commission obtains evidence that suggests a willful, knowing, and repeated robocall violation with an intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value, the Chief of the Enforcement Bureau shall provide such evidence to the Attorney General. The bill also gives the FCC up to four years to catch illegal callers and allows providers to block of illegal robocalls without an extra line-item charge.
Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR), Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Communications and Technology subcommittee Republican Leader Bob Latta (R-OH), and Communications and Technology subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) released the following statement after the bill was passed:
Today, the House of Representatives voted to restore Americans’ confidence in the telephone system and put consumers back in charge of their phones. We’re proud of the strong support our bipartisan Stopping Bad Robocalls Act received this afternoon and look forward to working with our colleagues in the Senate to produce a bill that the President can sign into law. The American people are counting on us to help end the robocall epidemic, and we will deliver for them.
Roll Call noted, “In recent years technological advances have allowed robocallers to target thousands of phones with minimal effort, which some advocates say has rendered the 2003 National Do Not Call Registry ineffective … The House bill specifically targets the so-called ‘one ring scam,’ in which scammers call numbers and immediately hang up, hoping that the recipient will call back. The calls usually mimic a familiar area code, but are actually international.
In May, the Senate passed a robocall bill that would make civil penalties for robocalls $10,000 per call. CNET said of the Senate bill, “It would also require phone companies to use a new technology protocol called SHAKEN/STIR, which would validate that calls are originating from where they claim to be coming from and would allow for faster tracing of illegal calls to find out who’s responsible for them.”