Senate Passes Robocall Bill

The U.S. Senate passed S. 151, the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act or “TRACED” Act, yesterday in a 99-1 vote. A House companion bill (H.R. 1602), sponsored by U.S. Rep. David Kustoff, R-Tenn., is currently pending in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

A summary of the TRACED Act:

  • Gives the Federal Communication Commission (“FCC”) enhanced enforcement tools, by (1) expanding the statute of limitations from one year to three; (2) eliminating the citation requirement for violations; and (3) allowing the Commission to impose fines of up to $10,000 per illegal call.
  • Brings together relevant federal agencies as well as state attorneys general to identify and report to Congress information related to the prosecution of illegal robocalls.
  • Directs the Commission to require service providers to implement the SHAKEN/STIR call authentication framework within 18 months of the enactment of the Act – with certain exceptions and allowing the FCC to extend the deadline.
  • Requires providers of voice services to adopt call authentication technologies, enabling a telephone carrier to verify that incoming calls are legitimate before they reach consumers’ phones.
  • Directs the FCC to initiate a rulemaking to:
    • Identify options for protecting subscribers from receiving unwanted calls that use numbers not authenticated under SHAKEN/STIR.
    • Consider reduced access to numbers by potential violators.
    • Provide a safe harbor for voice service providers that block calls by legitimate calls under the SHAKEN/STIR protocol and to provide mitigation options for legitimate callers whose calls are blocked.