House Subcommittee Seeks Information on FCC’s Plans to Stop ‘Spam Text Messages’

Members of Congress are concerned that with the success of efforts to curb ‘robocalls,’ consumers could see a surge in spam text messages.

8/24/2021 8:00 AM

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House Subcommittee Seeks Information on FCC’s Plans to Stop ‘Spam Text Messages’

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Oversight and Reform Committee Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy has requested information about the Federal Communications Commission’s ongoing efforts to address spam text messages.

“Since June 30, 2021, [the] FCC has required phone service providers to implement ‘STIR/SHAKEN’ technology to combat robocalls by verifying the sources of the calls,” said subcommittee Chairman U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., in the letter to FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “This technology will help reduce the number of robocalls consumers receive and will allow [the] FCC to identify bad actors and hold them accountable. As STIR/SHAKEN has its intended effect of reducing the effectiveness of robocalls, bad actors will likely shift their attention to other means of scamming consumers. Spam texts appear to be a likely vehicle for scammers to use.”

In 2019, the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act (H.R. 3375), sponsored by Chairman U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., and Ranking Member U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., was approved in the U.S. House of Representatives 429-3, ACA International previously reported.

Krishnamoorthi said in his letter if the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act were enacted, it would provide further protections for consumers against robocalls and robotexts.

Two versions of this legislation were introduced last Congress. ACA was very active in engaging with Congress about this bill. It is unclear what it would look like if reintroduced in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Facebook v. Duguid. ACA has been meeting with staff on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee to discuss the Facebook decision and concerns about frivolous Telephone Consumer Protection Act litigation.

ACA has also urged Congress and the FCC to use the authority granted in the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED Act) to address bad actors.

“We want to be able to inform our constituents about the important work that FCC is doing to protect them from spam texts, and we want to be able to give them the best advice on how to protect themselves from scams,” Krishnamoorthi said in the letter to the FCC.

He also requested FCC briefs on its efforts to address spam texts with subcommittee staff.

Robocalls and robotexts are limited by the TCPA. The FCC has repeatedly established that text messages are considered a type of call under the law and thus must abide by all restrictions on robocalls to mobile phones, ACA previously reported.

ACA has previously filed comments with the FCC in support of its efforts to combat illegal and fraudulent calls, while reiterating the need for clear interpretations of the TCPA.

Now, if carriers are categorically blocking texts originating from numbers associated with ACA members, including consented-to texts, this could cause significant disruptions for some of ACA’s members that are unable to reach consumers who have requested and expect these messages.

For more information on ACA’s advocacy on the TCPA and with the FCC, see the latest advocacy book on the ACA Advocacy Resource Center.


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

House Subcommittee Seeks Information on FCC’s Plans to Stop ‘Spam Text Messages’

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Oversight and Reform Committee Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy has requested information about the Federal Communications Commission’s ongoing efforts to address spam text messages.

“Since June 30, 2021, [the] FCC has required phone service providers to implement ‘STIR/SHAKEN’ technology to combat robocalls by verifying the sources of the calls,” said subcommittee Chairman U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., in the letter to FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “This technology will help reduce the number of robocalls consumers receive and will allow [the] FCC to identify bad actors and hold them accountable. As STIR/SHAKEN has its intended effect of reducing the effectiveness of robocalls, bad actors will likely shift their attention to other means of scamming consumers. Spam texts appear to be a likely vehicle for scammers to use.”

In 2019, the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act (H.R. 3375), sponsored by Chairman U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., and Ranking Member U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., was approved in the U.S. House of Representatives 429-3, ACA International previously reported.

Krishnamoorthi said in his letter if the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act were enacted, it would provide further protections for consumers against robocalls and robotexts.

Two versions of this legislation were introduced last Congress. ACA was very active in engaging with Congress about this bill. It is unclear what it would look like if reintroduced in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Facebook v. Duguid. ACA has been meeting with staff on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee to discuss the Facebook decision and concerns about frivolous Telephone Consumer Protection Act litigation.

ACA has also urged Congress and the FCC to use the authority granted in the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED Act) to address bad actors.

“We want to be able to inform our constituents about the important work that FCC is doing to protect them from spam texts, and we want to be able to give them the best advice on how to protect themselves from scams,” Krishnamoorthi said in the letter to the FCC.

He also requested FCC briefs on its efforts to address spam texts with subcommittee staff.

Robocalls and robotexts are limited by the TCPA. The FCC has repeatedly established that text messages are considered a type of call under the law and thus must abide by all restrictions on robocalls to mobile phones, ACA previously reported.

ACA has previously filed comments with the FCC in support of its efforts to combat illegal and fraudulent calls, while reiterating the need for clear interpretations of the TCPA.

Now, if carriers are categorically blocking texts originating from numbers associated with ACA members, including consented-to texts, this could cause significant disruptions for some of ACA’s members that are unable to reach consumers who have requested and expect these messages.

For more information on ACA’s advocacy on the TCPA and with the FCC, see the latest advocacy book on the ACA Advocacy Resource Center.


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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