President Donald Trump signed the TRACED Act into law over the holiday break. The legislation gives government agencies and law enforcement more tools to go after illegal robocallers.
The bipartisan legislation was previously approved by the House and the Senate, respectively, in December. Sens. John Thune (R-SD), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Reps.
Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Greg Walden (R-OR), Mike Doyle (D-PA), and Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) garnered support for the measure.
The Act increases penalties for scammers who knowingly initiate illegal robocalls — up to $10,000 per call. It also requires carriers to authenticate calls to determine if the number is legitimate before it reaches a consumer’s phone.
Major wireless carriers have been implementing a verification technology called “SHAKEN/STIR,” at the direction of the FCC, Inside Towers reported. The TRACED Act also gives regulators four years to pursue scammers, more than the previous one-year limit.
“I applaud Congress for working in a bipartisan manner to combat illegal robocalls and malicious caller ID spoofing. And I thank the President and Congress for the additional tools and flexibility that this law affords us,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement. “Specifically, I am glad that the agency now has a longer statute of limitations during which we can pursue scammers and I welcome the removal of a previously-required warning we had to give to unlawful robocallers before imposing tough penalties.”
“These unwanted robocalls that utilize spoofed phone numbers or falsify information are an issue in urban and rural America alike,” stated Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association. “The TRACED Act seeks to tackle this problem while also recognizing the transitions necessary to implement new technologies and network connections that will help achieve this goal.”
Derrick Owens, SVP of Government & Industry Affairs for WTA – Advocates for Rural Broadband, said: “Americans are barraged daily by robocalls, and we were pleased to see Congress act and have the President sign this much needed legislation into law. WTA and its member companies look forward to working with the FCC to combat illegal robocalls and to implement effective call blocking technology that works for small, rural carriers and brings less disruption to consumers’ daily lives.”
January 6, 2020
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