Senators Issue Bipartisan Letter on Priorities for FCC Reassigned Numbers Database

The letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai outlines ideas for the rulemaking to “target and eliminate unwanted robocalls” considering protections for consumers and liabilities callers face.

7/20/2018 3:00 PM

NewsTCPAFCC
Senators Issue Bipartisan Letter on Priorities for FCC Reassigned Numbers Database

Members of Congress continue to weigh in on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act as the Federal Communications Commission is reviewing the creation of a reassigned numbers database and several other matters related to it.

On July 19, U.S. Sens. Edward Markey, D-Mass., the author of the 1991 TCPA, and John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, submitted a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai sharing “their vision for how an upcoming rulemaking can better protect consumers who receive unwanted robocalls and robotexts to a phone number that was reassigned after the previous holder gave consent to be contacted,” according to a news release from Markey’s office.

In its Second Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) Advanced Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls, the FCC is assessing the impact of the March 2018 decision in ACA International v. Federal Communications Commission, et al. when it comes to safe harbor from liability under the TCPA, especially if a reassigned numbers database is created, ACA International previously reported. It also continues to review creating a Caller ID Authentication System to stop unwanted and illegal robocalls.

“ACA has also been advocating on Capitol Hill for different treatment of informational calls versus illegal robocalls, and has asked lawmakers not to sweep collection calls into the category of ‘robocalls,’” Leah Dempsey, vice president and senior counsel, federal advocacy said. “We appreciate that this letter recognizes a need for a safe harbor from the draconian liability associated with the TCPA, but hope that Congress and the FCC will address the larger TCPA concerns we have outlined to them such as the definition of an autodialer.”

ACA International 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 and a concise, thoughtful plan to develop a reassigned numbers database.

“Periodically, consumers receive unwanted robocalls and robotexts because the previous holder, not the current holder, of the phone number provided consent,” Thune and Markey wrote in the letter on the rulemaking. “Not only are these calls and texts to reassigned numbers a nuisance to consumers, but they may also create liabilities for calling parties.”  

Their vision for a reassigned numbers database to help callers and telephone service providers trying to follow the rules includes:

  • “The reassigned numbers database should comprehensively document all telephone numbers that could be reassigned. Participation by all providers—wireless, wireline, Voice over Internet Protocol providers, and any other relevant carrier partners—is essential to ensuring the database is reliable.”
  • “The database should be reliable and up-to-date to provide callers with accurate and timely information. Telephone providers should promptly report when one of their telephone numbers has been relinquished by the previous user, and the database should be updated as frequently as necessary to ensure it serves its purpose.”
  • “All callers, including small and medium-sized businesses, should have easy access to the database to confirm the currency of numbers.”
  • “The database should protect and minimize the collection of consumers’ proprietary network information.”
  • “The FCC should actively monitor and evaluate the comprehensiveness, accuracy, accessibility, and security of the reassigned numbers database and make appropriate reforms and modifications when necessary. Further, the FCC should continue to protect consumers with reassigned numbers from unwanted calls and texts, including from callers using the reassigned numbers database.”
  • “A safe harbor is an opportunity to create sensible tools that callers can use to avoid calling or texting reassigned numbers, and should not be a vehicle to strip consumers of their ability to seek recourse from callers violating TCPA regulations. With that said, a safe harbor shielding a caller from TCPA liability for making calls to reassigned numbers, without required consent, may be appropriate if certain conditions are met.”

Read the complete letter from Markey and Thune here.

Markey is also one of the sponsors of The “Stopping Bad Robocalls Act,” H.R. 6026, with U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., introduced June 7 in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit case striking down the FCC’s definition of an automatic telephone dialing system.

Related Content from ACA International:

Companion Legislation Introduced in Congress to Expand TCPA’s Definition of ATDS

ACA to FCC: Focus on Onerous TCPA Interpretations Before Reassigned Numbers Database


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

Senators Issue Bipartisan Letter on Priorities for FCC Reassigned Numbers Database

Members of Congress continue to weigh in on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act as the Federal Communications Commission is reviewing the creation of a reassigned numbers database and several other matters related to it.

On July 19, U.S. Sens. Edward Markey, D-Mass., the author of the 1991 TCPA, and John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, submitted a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai sharing “their vision for how an upcoming rulemaking can better protect consumers who receive unwanted robocalls and robotexts to a phone number that was reassigned after the previous holder gave consent to be contacted,” according to a news release from Markey’s office.

In its Second Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) Advanced Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls, the FCC is assessing the impact of the March 2018 decision in ACA International v. Federal Communications Commission, et al. when it comes to safe harbor from liability under the TCPA, especially if a reassigned numbers database is created, ACA International previously reported. It also continues to review creating a Caller ID Authentication System to stop unwanted and illegal robocalls.

“ACA has also been advocating on Capitol Hill for different treatment of informational calls versus illegal robocalls, and has asked lawmakers not to sweep collection calls into the category of ‘robocalls,’” Leah Dempsey, vice president and senior counsel, federal advocacy said. “We appreciate that this letter recognizes a need for a safe harbor from the draconian liability associated with the TCPA, but hope that Congress and the FCC will address the larger TCPA concerns we have outlined to them such as the definition of an autodialer.”

ACA International 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 and a concise, thoughtful plan to develop a reassigned numbers database.

“Periodically, consumers receive unwanted robocalls and robotexts because the previous holder, not the current holder, of the phone number provided consent,” Thune and Markey wrote in the letter on the rulemaking. “Not only are these calls and texts to reassigned numbers a nuisance to consumers, but they may also create liabilities for calling parties.”  

Their vision for a reassigned numbers database to help callers and telephone service providers trying to follow the rules includes:

  • “The reassigned numbers database should comprehensively document all telephone numbers that could be reassigned. Participation by all providers—wireless, wireline, Voice over Internet Protocol providers, and any other relevant carrier partners—is essential to ensuring the database is reliable.”
  • “The database should be reliable and up-to-date to provide callers with accurate and timely information. Telephone providers should promptly report when one of their telephone numbers has been relinquished by the previous user, and the database should be updated as frequently as necessary to ensure it serves its purpose.”
  • “All callers, including small and medium-sized businesses, should have easy access to the database to confirm the currency of numbers.”
  • “The database should protect and minimize the collection of consumers’ proprietary network information.”
  • “The FCC should actively monitor and evaluate the comprehensiveness, accuracy, accessibility, and security of the reassigned numbers database and make appropriate reforms and modifications when necessary. Further, the FCC should continue to protect consumers with reassigned numbers from unwanted calls and texts, including from callers using the reassigned numbers database.”
  • “A safe harbor is an opportunity to create sensible tools that callers can use to avoid calling or texting reassigned numbers, and should not be a vehicle to strip consumers of their ability to seek recourse from callers violating TCPA regulations. With that said, a safe harbor shielding a caller from TCPA liability for making calls to reassigned numbers, without required consent, may be appropriate if certain conditions are met.”

Read the complete letter from Markey and Thune here.

Markey is also one of the sponsors of The “Stopping Bad Robocalls Act,” H.R. 6026, with U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., introduced June 7 in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit case striking down the FCC’s definition of an automatic telephone dialing system.

Related Content from ACA International:

Companion Legislation Introduced in Congress to Expand TCPA’s Definition of ATDS

ACA to FCC: Focus on Onerous TCPA Interpretations Before Reassigned Numbers Database


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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