July 24, 2019

Crapo, Klobuchar Introduce Legislation to Combat Robocalls

Washington, D.C. -- Estimates indicate that Americans receive billions of robocalls to their mobile phones each year, and the number of robocalls to landlines soars even higher.  U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) introduced legislation to establish a pilot program to expand the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) ongoing attempts to combat these unwanted computerized calls. 

“Scammers have flooded phone lines with incessant and unwanted computerized calls for far too long,” said Senator Crapo.  “In a new wave of robocalls, spoofers have adopted a ‘neighborhood’ tactic in which electronic robocallers use fake local numbers as cover to reach unsuspecting recipients, even if the robocall is sent from outside the United States.  These illegal calls often target the elderly and other vulnerable populations who are often easily scared or manipulated into fulfilling the scammer’s demand.  Our bipartisan bill would empower voice service providers to identify and block suspected illegal calls before they ever reach a consumer’s device.” 

“Most robocalls aren’t just unwanted and disruptive – they are illegal,” said Senator Klobuchar.  “New technology has enabled scammers to ‘spoof’ or alter their phone numbers so that the calls appear to be local, making them nearly impossible to recognize or track.  Worse still, they often target seniors who are particularly susceptible to these scammers, which has led, in some cases, to the loss of their entire life savings.  This legislation would establish a pilot program to expand the FCC’s attempt to combat robocalls and help hold these criminals accountable while also ensuring public safety.” 

“The number of robocalls today is bonkers.  Consumers didn’t create this mess and shouldn’t have to pay to fix it,” said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.  “So kudos to Senators Klobuchar and Crapo for their efforts to create a pilot project to help stop robocalls at no cost to consumers.”

 In May 2019, the Senate passed S. 151, the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, which mandated the adoption of caller identification authentication technology.  The TRACED Act, however, did not allow for blocking of calls that fail the authentication.  Introduced by Crapo and Klobuchar, the Data Analytics Robocall Technology (DART) Act (S. 2204) would establish a pilot program at the FCC to expand its efforts to combat robocalls by blocking unauthentic calls at their origin.  Specifically, the DART Act would instruct the FCC to carry out a one-year pilot program for voice service providers to use caller identification authentication procedures and data analytics to identify and block suspected illegal robocalls, while allowing emergency service alert calls to remain un-interrupted.  S. 2204 would also provide a pathway for appeal for calls unintentionally blocked that may be otherwise allowable under law. 

Text of the legislation can be found HERE and a one-pager of the bill can be found HERE

###