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FCC Opens Comments on Proposed Rule to Block Text Messages

block text messagesThe FCC’s draft rule would require wireless carriers to block text messages from certain numbers. Comments are due Nov. 10 and ACA is seeking feedback from members on the proposed rule.

10/10/2022 9:15 A.M.

2 minute read

The Federal Communications Commission’s notice of proposed rulemaking to begin the process of developing rules to block text messages is available for public comment on the Federal Register through Nov. 10, 2022.

The proposed rulemaking was adopted by the FCC Sept. 23 with the goal to stop scam and spam text messages with network-level blocking and sender ID authentication.

The FCC proposes to require mobile wireless providers to block texts, at the network level, that purport to be from invalid, unallocated, or unused numbers, and numbers on a “do-not-originate” list, according to the notice of proposed rulemaking.

The FCC also seeks comment on the extent spoofing is a problem with regard to text messaging and whether there are measures the commission can take to encourage providers to identify and block texts that appear to come from spoofed numbers. In addition, the FCC seeks comment on applying caller ID authentication standards to text messaging.

ACA’s Take

Texting has become a vital communications tool for businesses. As the FCC outlined in the proposal, this draft rule would require wireless carriers to block texts from invalid, unassigned or unallocated numbers or numbers on “do not originate” lists, ACA International previously reported.

Blocking for robocalls started here, but it was discretionary, not mandatory. From there the FCC moved on to blocking based on reasonable analytics, and then implementation of the STIR/SHAKEN regime for carriers. The notice also asks about redress, although it suggests redress may not be necessary for blocks based on these factors since the calls are ‘highly likely to be illegal.’”

The proposal does not suggest blocking based on reasonable analytics.

ACA will fight diligently for its members to be able to fully use text messaging. Even some consumer groups and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau made it clear during the Regulation F rulemaking process that people in collections should be able to use these tools as long as the sender has the right protocols in place, such as a proper opt-out option. If these rules could stop texting from bad actors and increase the trust of using texting by legitimate business, that would be a good thing.

Comment Process

To share suggestions on this proposed rule, contact ACA’s advocacy team at [email protected].

Interested parties may file comments by Nov. 10, 2022, and reply comments are due by Nov. 25, 2022. To submit comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking, visit the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System and file under CG Docket No. 21-402. For more information on the proposed rule, click here.

If you have executive leadership updates or other member news to share with ACA, contact our communications department at [email protected]. View our publications page for more information and our news submission guidelines here.

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