On Monday,the White House announced that President Trump had signed S. 151, the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act, which will prevent criminal robocalls.
The White House stated:
This historic legislation will provide American consumers with even greater protection against annoying unsolicited robocalls. American families deserve control over their communications, and this legislation will update our laws and regulations to stiffen penalties, increase transparency, and enhance government collaboration to stop unwanted solicitation. President Donald J. Trump is proud to have worked with Congress to get this bipartisan legislation to his desk, and even prouder to sign it into law today.
The Federal Trade Commission explains, “A robocall trying to sell you something is illegal unless a company has your written permission to call you that way. To get your permission, the company has to be clear it’s asking to call you with robocalls, and it can’t make you agree to the calls to get a product or service. If you give permission, you have the right to change your mind later.”
Senator John Thune (R-SD) stated in December:
I have yet to meet someone who says they enjoy receiving those unwanted and illegal robocalls that plague our phones, whether we’re at home, at work, or in the car, which is why the TRACED Act takes several important steps in the fight to curb this scourge. This bill represents a unique legislative effort that is not only bipartisan at its core, but it’s nearly unanimously supported in Congress. Most importantly, this is a significant win for consumers in every corner of the country, and it finally and officially puts illegal robocallers on notice. While no process is perfect, I’m glad we were able to work together with Republicans and Democrats, senators and members of the House to reach this important compromise, which, once signed into law, will begin to make an important down payment on the fight against illegal robocalls.”
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) echoed:
The U.S. Senate today sent Americans a holiday gift on everyone’s list: stopping the plague of robocalls. The annoying and harassing robocalls we receive every day are neither a Democrat nor Republican menace; they are a universal menace. The TRACED Act cracks down on scammers by requiring phone carriers to authenticate whether calls are legitimate, and then blocking unverified robocalls at no charge to consumers. I thank Senator Thune for his unwavering partnership on this important consumer protection issue. I hope the President quickly signs this bill into law so that families can enjoy a new year of family calls instead of robocalls.
Thune’s website explained that the bill:
Broadens the authority of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to levy civil penalties of up to $10,000 per call on people who intentionally flout telemarketing restrictions. Extends the window for the FCC to catch and take civil enforcement action against intentional violations to four years after a robocall is placed. Under current law, the FCC has only one year to do so, and the FCC has told the committee that “even a one-year longer statute of limitations for enforcement” would improve enforcement against violators … Requires voice service providers to adopt call authentication technologies, enabling a telephone carrier to verify that incoming calls are legitimate before they reach consumers’ phones.