FCC Releases Request for Comment on Proposed Rule on Unlawful Robocalls and Call Blocking


Comments are due by Aug. 31, 2020.

7/31/2020 12:30

The Federal Communications Commission is proceeding with a proposed rule on revisions to its rules implementing the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED Act) in a request for comment announced Friday.

It states: “The commission proposes to require voice service providers to respond to certain traceback requests, mitigate bad traffic when notified of such traffic by the commission, and implement effective measures to prevent new and renewing customers from using its network to originate illegal calls; to extend the safe harbor for blocking based on reasonable analytics including Caller ID authentication information to network-based blocking without consumer consent so long as the blocking is specifically designed to block calls that are highly likely to be illegal and is managed with sufficient human oversight and network monitoring to ensure that blocking is working as intended; and to require terminating voice service providers to provide a list of individually blocked calls that were placed to a particular number at the request of the subscriber to that number. These proposals, taken together, implement the TRACED Act and continue the commission’s fight against illegal and unwanted robocalls while taking further steps to ensure that wanted calls are protected.”

Comments are due on or before Aug. 31, 2020, and reply comments are due on or before Sept. 29, 2020.

In advance of Friday’s proposed rule, the FCC on July 16 voted to adopt an order on call blocking and labeling that includes two safe harbors for voice service providers and some protections for legitimate calls, ACA International previously reported.

During the meeting, the FCC also issued a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) seeking comment on additional steps to protect consumers from robocalls and better inform them about provider blocking efforts. The notice specifically seeks comment on whether to obligate phone companies to better police their networks against illegal calls, and whether to require them to provide information about blocked calls to consumers for free. In addition, the notice seeks comment on notification and effective redress mechanisms for callers when their calls are blocked, and on whether measures are necessary to address the mislabeling of calls.

The July 31 proposed rule is a summary of the commission’s fourth FNPRM, in CG Docket No. 17-59, FCC 20-96, adopted on July 16, 2020, and released on July 17, 2020.

ACA is awaiting the release of the final call blocking and labeling order from the July meeting, but the contents of it were discussed in the open hearing and an FCC press release, providing insight into changes that were made from the draft.

ACA focused on advocating for protections for legitimate callers and appropriate redress options after the FCC released the draft order on call blocking and labeling in June and is reviewing the proposed rule to provide additional insights for members.

Comments, identified by CG Docket No. 17-59, may be submitted online at http://apps.fcc.gov/?ecfs/?.

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