The state attorneys general (“AGs”) have signaled that they are ramping up their efforts to combat illegal telephone calls. Fifty-two AGs, including American Samoa and Puerto Rico, recently issued a letter (“Letter”) to the Industry Traceback Group (“ITG”), stating that the AGs want to strengthen their relationship with ITG to more aggressively combat robocalls. The ITG is a collaborative effort of companies across the wireline, wireless, VoIP, and cable industries that actively trace and identify the source of illegal robocalls. Specifically, the AGs have requested that information collected by ITG be shared with the AGs because the AGs “contemplate increases in [their] issuances of subpoenas or civil investigative demands directly to the ITG for tracebacks.”
- Utilizing a wider variety of call data sources to both diversify and aggregate as much pertinent robocall data as possible;
- Analyzing data to identify past, current, and future illegal robocall campaigns and trends and to better understand the interconnected ecosystem of businesses facilitating illegal robocallers;
- Automating traceback investigations and increasing the total volume of such investigations;
- Alerting relevant law enforcement agencies, including AGs, of suspected illegal robocall campaigns with sufficient information to trigger investigations;
- Enabling law enforcement agencies to upload and receive responses to subpoenas and civil investigative demands electronically;
- Providing swift and comprehensive compliance with such subpoenas and civil investigative demands electronically; and
- Identifying noncooperative Voice Service Providers (“VSPs”), such as:
- VSPs that do not participate in the traceback process;
- VSPs that repeatedly originate or accept illegal robocalls;
- VSPs that are regularly the domestic point of entry for illegal robocalls originating outside the United States; and
- VSPs that are repeatedly incapable of providing sufficient records.
This Letter makes it clear that the AGs intend to more rigorously identify and pursue companies that are engaging in illegal robocalling. It also emphasizes the importance of timely responding to ITG requests for information, having a rigorous teleservices compliance program in place, and engaging competent compliance professionals and counsel to ensure compliance with both federal law and state laws.
* Shuqing Li contributed to this post.
Michele is the Managing Partner at M&S and former Chief of the Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section. Bringing more than two decades of experience in the consumer protection arena, she advises highly regulated businesses on a wide range of telemarketing, privacy, and other consumer protection matters.