FCC & FTC Commissioners, Industry, and Consumer Groups Support Senators Thune and Markey Robocall Legislation

The TRACED Act would boost call authentication, call blocking, and penalties for scammers

 

Washington (February 1, 2019) – All Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioners, major industry associations, and leading consumer groups all agree that the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act is an essential weapon towards combating the rise of illegal, fraudulent robocalls. Earlier this month, Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), the House author of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), reintroduced the TRACED Act. The legislation 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.

 

“The overwhelming groundswell of support for the TRACED Act confirms what millions of consumers across the country already know – the scourge of invasive and intrusive spoofed robocalls has reached epidemic levels, and it’s time to hang up on these fraudsters once and for all,” said Senators Markey and Thune. “Our legislation will establish meaningful protections to authenticate and block spoofed calls, while also giving federal regulators more flexibility to pursue and penalize scammers. We thank the bipartisan coalition of FCC Commissioners, FTC Commissioners, consumer groups, and industry stakeholders for their support, and look forward to the quick consideration of the TRACED Act in Congress.

 

A copy of the TRACED Act can be found HERE.

 

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, 1/29/2019

“I’m grateful to Senators Thune and Markey for re-introducing the TRACED Act.  This legislation would make it easier for the FCC to track and take down illegal robocall scams and require the private sector to verify that the calls consumers receive are legitimate.  I have made cracking down on unwanted and illegal robocalls our top consumer protection priority at the FCC, and we stand ready to work with Congress to tackle this issue head on.”

 

FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly, 1/29/2019

“I appreciate the leadership of Senators Thune and Markey in introducing the TRACED Act to combat illegal robocalls.  The clarity and added authority would allow the Commission to focus on bad actors and provide greater legal protection to legitimate businesses making calls to their customers.”

 

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, 1/17/2019

“I commend Senator Thune and Senator Markey for their leadership in cracking down on the illegal robocalls that not only interrupt our lives but seek to defraud Americans.”

 

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, 1/28/2019

“I detest robocalls and I am not alone.  Robocalls are the number one source of consumer complaints at the FCC.  So, Kudos to Senators Markey and Thune for their efforts to fix this mess and hold accountable those who bombard our phones with endless interruptions and scams.”

 

FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, 1/31/2019

“The FCC receives more complaints about robocalls than any other issue – they are annoying, disruptive, and predatory.  It is past time for us to take action, and I appreciate Senators Markey and Thune moving in the right direction to fight this problem.  In particular, as a former enforcement official at the FCC, I agree that the additional tools in this bill will enhance the Commission’s abilities to track down illegal robocallers, stop them, and hold them accountable.”       

 

FTC Chairman Joseph Simons, 1/29/2019

“Illegal robocalls affect nearly every American, and they are the top consumer complaint to the FTC.  I welcome every effort to stop this assault on consumers, and I commend Senator Thune and Senator Markey for their leadership on this important issue.”

 

FTC Commissioner Noah Joshua Phillips, 1/29/2019

“Americans don’t need a reminder of the negative impact of illegal robocalls – many of us get them several times a day. I commend Senators Thune and Markey for tackling this problem by proposing tough bipartisan legislation aimed at reducing it.”

 

FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra, 1/29/2019

Companies should not be able to profit off of harassing and scamming people. The TRACED Act represents important progress by giving law enforcement agencies critical new tools to go after crooked robocallers.”

 

FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, 1/29/2019

“Count me among the millions of Americans who hate robocalls and are desperate for them to be stopped.  I applaud Senators Markey and Thune for introducing the TRACED Act.  Among other things, it would deliver on the promise carriers have made for years of meaningful call authentication to help weed out illegal and unwanted calls. The carriers have the technology to do it and this bill helps makes sure they use it.”

 

FTC Commissioner Christine S. Wilson, 1/30/2019

“Unwanted robocalls trigger more complaints to the FTC than any other consumer issue.  I support Congressional efforts to stem this abusive conduct.”

 

USTelecom, President and CEO, Jonathan Spalter, 1/17/2019

“Robocalls are the No. 1 consumer complaint at the FCC, and we couldn’t agree more with Senators Thune and Markey that targeting criminal robocallers is a top national priority. For the last several years, USTelecom’s Industry Traceback Group has been hard at work chasing down the source of suspicious network traffic and exposing the illegal robocallers that scam and spoof consumers. The TRACED Act emphasizes the importance of reintroducing trust to the caller ID framework and heightens federal enforcement efforts to crackdown on the robocall plague.”

 

CTIA, President and CEO, Meredith Attwell Baker, 1/17/2019

“We applaud Senators Thune and Markey for reintroducing the TRACED Act. Aggressive enforcement is key to combatting illegal and unwanted robocalls. CTIA and its members have implemented a multifaceted approach including new applications and network-based tools and industry initiatives. This is an issue we take seriously, and we commend this bipartisan legislation for enhancing the FCC’s authority to protect American consumers by going after bad actors and acknowledging the importance of industry’s efforts to adopt and implement call authentication.”

 

AT&T, Executive Vice President of Federal Relations, Tim McKone, 1/17/2019

“AT&T is committed to giving consumers the very best tools to combat illegal robocalls. We also are supportive of collaborative efforts in the fight against these unwanted calls. To that end, we look forward to working with Senators Thune and Markey on this important legislation to protect consumers against the scourge of illegal and unwanted robocalls.”

 

Verizon, Senior Vice President Federal Government Affairs, Robert Fisher, 1/17/2019

“The TRACED Act offers important policy solutions to help protect Verizon customers from illegal and intrusive robocalls. The public welcomes stronger enforcement to help deter these calls. Additionally, the entire industry should adopt the STIR-SHAKEN call authentication standard, which Verizon is already deploying, for IP voice services. On behalf of consumers, Verizon looks forward to working with members of the 116th Congress to improve upon and advance this commonsense legislation.”

 

Verizon, Joe Russo, Senior Vice President of network operations, Blog (excerpt), 1/17/2019

 “Lastly, we support stronger federal laws to outlaw spoofing and to shut down illegal robocallers. Few robocallers get charged with illegal spoofing because the Truth in Caller ID Act defines ‘spoofing’ narrowly. The government currently must prove the caller intended to defraud, cause harm, or illegally obtain something of value. Verizon supports a simple rule that would make it illegal for any caller to use any phone number that it is not authorized to use.  Verizon also supports legislation, including the TRACED Act, to strengthen enforcement against illegal robocallers and to require other service providers to join us in implementing the STIR/SHAKEN call authentication technology.”

 

NTCA, CEO, Shirley Bloomfield, 1/17/2019   

“Unwanted robocalls that utilize spoofed phone numbers or falsify information are a problem in urban and rural America alike. NTCA therefore supports efforts like the TRACED Act introduced by Senators Thune and Markey, as the bill seeks to tackle this problem while also recognizing the transitions necessary to implement new technologies and network connections that will help achieve this goal. We look forward to working with Senators Thune and Markey and other policymakers to ensure that providers of all sizes and in all parts of the country can be part of the solution for the benefit of American consumers.”

 

Consumer Reports, Policy Analyst, Maureen Mahoney, 1/17/2019

“Unwanted robocalls harass Americans every day, too often with scams that take advantage of consumers, and yet phone companies drag their feet and fail to truly solve the problem,” said Maureen Mahoney, policy analyst for Consumer Reports. “The TRACED Act takes an important step in ensuring that all phone companies implement technology that will help stop ‘spoofed’ calls, a technique employed by scammers to foil robocall mitigation efforts. Consumer Reports supports this bipartisan effort to address the robocall problem.”

 

National Consumer Law Center, Senior Policy Counsel, Margot Saunders, 1/17/2019

“Once passed, this bill will help tens of millions of Americans reclaim the use of their telephones from the scourge of unwanted and fraudulent robocalls,” said Margot Saunders, senior policy counsel for the National Consumer Law Center. “On behalf of our low-income clients, we strongly support this bill and very much appreciate the efforts of Chairman Thune and Senator Markey to address the serious problem of caller-id spoofing.” 

 

Consumer Federation of America , Director of Consumer Protection and Privacy, Susan Grant, 1/17/2019

“Authenticating that a call is coming from the source that it purports to be is crucial in the fight against illegal robocalls, which often fraudulently spoof their caller ID,” said Susan Grant, Director of Consumer Protection and Privacy at the Consumer Federation of America. “This bill will move carriers forward to implement call authentication and provide stronger enforcement tools to use against robocallers who flout the law.”

 

Consumer Action, Deputy Director of National Priorities, Ruth Susswein, 1/17/2019

“Spoofed robocalls are the reason that consumers are unwilling to answer their phones these days,” said Consumer Action’s Deputy Director of National Priorities Ruth Susswein. “The TRACED Act is the kind of legislation that consumers have been waiting for – with tools to curb invasive robocalls, hold abusers accountable and help consumers block bad actors from their phone lines.”

 

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