FCC Approves Robocall and Robotext Rules, Will Consider Resticting Sale of Consumer Contact Info in Further Rulemaking

March 20, 2023

Robocalls continue to annoy (and sometimes defraud) American phone subscribers, and the latest FCC regulations on robocalls and robotexts, approved on March 16, are unlikely to stem the flood of illegal calls, although they may reduce the illegal calls and texts that result from consumers filling out forms online.

The FCC’s existing rules required blocking calls in circumstances including: calls with Caller ID numbers that are never used for outbound calling (a Do Not Originate (DNO) list), calls the Commission identified as associated with an illegal call campaign (e.g. this auto warranty campaign), and calls passing through providers who are not listed in the Robocall Mitigation Database (RMD) but should be listed in the RMD.

In the robocall order, the FCC expands its requirements for Caller ID authentication and for robocall mitigation plans in the RMD. It also authorizes several clear enforcement mechanisms to give teeth to its existing rules. In the robocall further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM, which describes what further regulations the FCC may be considering), the FCC inquires about additional Caller ID authentication rules.

In the robotext order, the FCC requires blocking of texts seeming to come from numbers on a DNO list. In the robotext FNPRM, the FCC proposes: requiring providers to block text messages upon FCC notification, clarifying Do Not Call list protections, and most significantly banning the practice of obtaining a single consumer consent as justification for calls and texts from hundreds of sellers and potential fraudsters.

EPIC routinely participates in regulatory and legislative processes concerning robocalls and files amicus briefs in robocall cases.

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