The FCC is seeking comments to help define artificial intelligence related to “robocalls” and “robotexts” and the impact of AI technologies on consumer privacy under the TCPA.
11/29/2023 1:10 P.M.
2 minute read
As part of its focus on protecting consumers from illegal telephone calls and text messages, the Federal Communications Commission approved a Notice of Inquiry (PDF) to better understand the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.
“As artificial intelligence technology becomes more prevalent, it presents opportunities to protect consumers but it can also pose privacy and safety challenges,” according to a news release from the FCC (PDF). “In the case of robocalls and robotexts, AI could improve analytics tools used to block unwanted calls and texts and restore trust in our networks. But AI could also permit bad actors to more easily defraud consumers through calls and text messages, such as by using technology to mimic voices of public officials or other trusted sources.”
Comments are due Dec. 18, 2023.
For example, the FCC seeks comment on:
- How to define AI in the “robocall” and “robotext” context.
- The current state of AI use in calling and texting.
- The impact of emerging AI technologies on consumer privacy rights under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
- Next steps the commission should take to address these issues.
Comments may be filed using the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System for the Notice of Inquiry, https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/search/docket-detail/23-362, by selecting Submit a Standard Filing, or by mail to Commission’s Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 45 L Street NE, Washington, D.C. 20554.
Text Message Blocking Rule Proposals
Meanwhile, the FCC will consider multiple avenues to expand its text message blocking rules at its Dec. 13 meeting.
The commission has drafted a Second Report and Order, Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Waiver Order to create do-not-call rules for texting, and closing the “lead generator loophole,” which currently allows repeat illegal text messages that originate from comparison shopping websites.
According to a fact sheet from the FCC (PDF), the proposed report and order would:
- “Require terminating mobile wireless providers to block all texts from a particular number when notified by the commission of illegal texts from that number.
- Codify that the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry’s protections extend to text messages.
- Encourage providers to make email-to-text, a major source of illegal texts, a service that consumers proactively opt into.
- Close the lead generator loophole by making unequivocally clear that comparison shopping websites must get consumer consent one seller at a time, and thus prohibit abuse of consumer consent by such websites.”
Find out more about the proposals from ACA International here. ACA is meeting with the FCC as part of ongoing advocacy on call and text blocking and labeling issues.