ACA Advocates for Businesses and TCPA Clarity in Letter for Senate FCC Hearing

ACA International submits issues for consideration during Senate committee’s hearing with the FCC Wednesday.

6/24/2020 1:30 PM

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ACA Advocates for Businesses and TCPA Clarity in Letter for Senate FCC Hearing

ACA International continued advocating for Telephone Consumer Protection Act reform and protecting businesses’ legitimate calls in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s hearing on Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission Wednesday.

ACA asked Congress to consider ongoing issues on mitigating illegal robocalls and providing clarity on the TCPA during its meeting with the commissioners.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and commissioners Michael O’Rielly, Brendan Carr, Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks testified. The hearing largely focused on broadband accessibility, especially for distance learning and telehealth, among other topics.

Specifically, there are two issues that ACA urged Congress to consider as it conducts its oversight of the FCC:

  • During implementation of SHAKEN/STIR and in accordance with Congress’s directive in the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, the FCC should remedy its overly broad inclusion of legitimate business calls in efforts to target bad actors making robocalls in its recent Declaratory Ruling.
  • The FCC’s failure to act on questions remanded to it from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals more than a year ago concerning the TCPA.

Discussing robocalls, Pai said in his prepared testimony, “Our decisive action regarding gateway providers comes on top of our already aggressive approach to robocalls—consistently our top source of consumer complaints. We’ve allowed telephone providers to block suspected, malicious, and illegal calls by default. And in March, the Commission unanimously adopted a Report and Order mandating the implementation of caller ID authentication technology known as STIR/SHAKEN. This technology enables phone companies to verify caller ID information transmitted with a call, helping them identify calls with illegally spoofed caller ID information before those calls reach Americans’ phones. This action fulfills one of the major provisions of the TRACED Act … We are on track with our implementation of the other components of the bill.”

ACA’s advocacy team submitted questions for consideration during the hearing, including about balancing illegal robocall blocking efforts and ensuring legitimate calls are not blocked as well as addressing problematic interpretations of the TCPA and clarity for businesses.

“When outbound calling numbers used by legitimate businesses are mislabeled and calls from those numbers are blocked, consumers are harmed because they may not receive lawful calls affecting their health, safety, or financial well-being,” ACA CEO Mark Neeb said in a letter to committee chairman U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Ranking Member U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., in advance of the hearing.

The hearing provided members an opportunity to examine policy issues before the FCC and review the agency’s ongoing activities and proceedings.

“ACA has strongly supported the FCC’s efforts to target the serious problem of illegal and fraudulent robocalls,” Neeb said. “ACA members are also consumers, and like many consumers, ACA’s members greatly dislike fraudulent and illegal robocalls. Accordingly, we appreciate the work of the FCC to stop those making such abusive calls. These efforts are certainly worthwhile and deserve the serious attention they have been given by the FCC and Congress. As the FCC works to further address these issues in SHAKEN/STIR, we urge Congress to continue to ensure that the FCC carries out this directive, and that it works to protect legal and often exigent calls.”

ACA expects that the FCC will be issuing its call blocking order on Thursday, June 25. This was confirmed in a blog post from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

Chairman Pai’s blog post confirms that the FCC will be releasing its call blocking order stating,

“In July, the Commission will consider an Order than would provide carriers a safe harbor from liability for the unintended or inadvertent blocking of calls so long as such action is based upon reasonable analytics indicating that such calls were unwanted and therefore should be blocked. And we’ll formalize the blocking of bad actor telephone companies that act as a gateway for illegal and unwanted calls.  We will also be seeking comment on whether to obligate originating and intermediate providers to better police their networks against illegal calls, as well as to require terminating providers to provide information about blocked calls to consumers at no charge.”

ACA is also awaiting an announcement this week from the U.S. Supreme Court about the Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants case. This could be issued as soon as this week and may impact TCPA compliance.

Under the TRACED Act, the FCC must begin a proceeding to determine how its policies can be modified to reduce access to numbers by potential illegal robocallers and establish an advisory committee to be known as the Hospital Robocall Protection Group, by June 29, 2020, ACA previously reported.

Read ACA’s complete letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Learn more about ACA’s advocacy initiatives with Congress and the FCC during sessions at the 2020 Virtual Convention & Expo July 15-16, 2020. For example, ACA will have a session on “Call Blocking and Labeling in the ARM Arena” and discuss technology trends during the event. Visit the convention webpage for all the latest details. Register by Friday, June 26, to receive a VIP bonus package from QBE, RevSpring, Applied Innovation, LexisNexis and InterProse.

For more information on how the ACA Licensing staff can assist with your licensing needs, please contact us at Licensing@acainternational.org  or call (952) 926-6547.


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

ACA Advocates for Businesses and TCPA Clarity in Letter for Senate FCC Hearing

ACA International continued advocating for Telephone Consumer Protection Act reform and protecting businesses’ legitimate calls in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s hearing on Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission Wednesday.

ACA asked Congress to consider ongoing issues on mitigating illegal robocalls and providing clarity on the TCPA during its meeting with the commissioners.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and commissioners Michael O’Rielly, Brendan Carr, Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks testified. The hearing largely focused on broadband accessibility, especially for distance learning and telehealth, among other topics.

Specifically, there are two issues that ACA urged Congress to consider as it conducts its oversight of the FCC:

  • During implementation of SHAKEN/STIR and in accordance with Congress’s directive in the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, the FCC should remedy its overly broad inclusion of legitimate business calls in efforts to target bad actors making robocalls in its recent Declaratory Ruling.
  • The FCC’s failure to act on questions remanded to it from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals more than a year ago concerning the TCPA.

Discussing robocalls, Pai said in his prepared testimony, “Our decisive action regarding gateway providers comes on top of our already aggressive approach to robocalls—consistently our top source of consumer complaints. We’ve allowed telephone providers to block suspected, malicious, and illegal calls by default. And in March, the Commission unanimously adopted a Report and Order mandating the implementation of caller ID authentication technology known as STIR/SHAKEN. This technology enables phone companies to verify caller ID information transmitted with a call, helping them identify calls with illegally spoofed caller ID information before those calls reach Americans’ phones. This action fulfills one of the major provisions of the TRACED Act … We are on track with our implementation of the other components of the bill.”

ACA’s advocacy team submitted questions for consideration during the hearing, including about balancing illegal robocall blocking efforts and ensuring legitimate calls are not blocked as well as addressing problematic interpretations of the TCPA and clarity for businesses.

“When outbound calling numbers used by legitimate businesses are mislabeled and calls from those numbers are blocked, consumers are harmed because they may not receive lawful calls affecting their health, safety, or financial well-being,” ACA CEO Mark Neeb said in a letter to committee chairman U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Ranking Member U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., in advance of the hearing.

The hearing provided members an opportunity to examine policy issues before the FCC and review the agency’s ongoing activities and proceedings.

“ACA has strongly supported the FCC’s efforts to target the serious problem of illegal and fraudulent robocalls,” Neeb said. “ACA members are also consumers, and like many consumers, ACA’s members greatly dislike fraudulent and illegal robocalls. Accordingly, we appreciate the work of the FCC to stop those making such abusive calls. These efforts are certainly worthwhile and deserve the serious attention they have been given by the FCC and Congress. As the FCC works to further address these issues in SHAKEN/STIR, we urge Congress to continue to ensure that the FCC carries out this directive, and that it works to protect legal and often exigent calls.”

ACA expects that the FCC will be issuing its call blocking order on Thursday, June 25. This was confirmed in a blog post from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

Chairman Pai’s blog post confirms that the FCC will be releasing its call blocking order stating,

“In July, the Commission will consider an Order than would provide carriers a safe harbor from liability for the unintended or inadvertent blocking of calls so long as such action is based upon reasonable analytics indicating that such calls were unwanted and therefore should be blocked. And we’ll formalize the blocking of bad actor telephone companies that act as a gateway for illegal and unwanted calls.  We will also be seeking comment on whether to obligate originating and intermediate providers to better police their networks against illegal calls, as well as to require terminating providers to provide information about blocked calls to consumers at no charge.”

ACA is also awaiting an announcement this week from the U.S. Supreme Court about the Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants case. This could be issued as soon as this week and may impact TCPA compliance.

Under the TRACED Act, the FCC must begin a proceeding to determine how its policies can be modified to reduce access to numbers by potential illegal robocallers and establish an advisory committee to be known as the Hospital Robocall Protection Group, by June 29, 2020, ACA previously reported.

Read ACA’s complete letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Learn more about ACA’s advocacy initiatives with Congress and the FCC during sessions at the 2020 Virtual Convention & Expo July 15-16, 2020. For example, ACA will have a session on “Call Blocking and Labeling in the ARM Arena” and discuss technology trends during the event. Visit the convention webpage for all the latest details. Register by Friday, June 26, to receive a VIP bonus package from QBE, RevSpring, Applied Innovation, LexisNexis and InterProse.

For more information on how the ACA Licensing staff can assist with your licensing needs, please contact us at Licensing@acainternational.org  or call (952) 926-6547.


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

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