U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), authors of the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, today issued the following statement on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) “report and order” to establish safe harbors from liability for voice service providers that block unwanted robocalls. It also provides protections for legitimate callers and seeks further information and feedback from consumers and industry stakeholders on call blocking and TRACED Act implementation.
“Access to accurate information in the middle of this health crisis is critical and can help save lives, which unfortunately means it’s no surprise that bad actors are using this pandemic to take advantage of people through illegal robocalls,” said Thune and Markey. “Today’s action by the FCC to implement key provisions from our TRACED Act will help protect consumers from robocallers who are acting in bad faith. On top of everything else Americans are dealing with during this pandemic, now is not the time to worry about the scams illegal robocallers are trying to peddle. We look forward to working with the FCC and our colleagues in Congress as our bipartisan effort to ban these nuisance robocalls continues to take effect.”
Thune and Markey introduced the TRACED Act on January 17, 2019, and it became law on December 30, 2019. The bill was supported by attorneys general in all 50 states, by all current commissioners at the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission, and by industry and consumer groups, including AARP.
The TRACED Act gives regulators more time to find scammers and levy fines for those who are caught, promotes call authentication and blocking adoption, and brings relevant federal agencies and state attorneys general together to address impediments to criminal prosecution of robocallers who intentionally flout laws.