Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve two measures to better protect consumers from unwanted robotexts and robocalls.
The FCC adopted a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking focused on the increasing problem of robotexts. The Report and Order would, for the first time, require carriers to adopt a baseline level of protection for consumers from spoofed robotexts by mandating that texts purporting to come from numbers that should not be sending any messages—like invalid, unused, or inbound-only numbers. The FCC’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on robotexts seeks comment on even more ways to protect consumers from robotexts, including rules to block known illegal spammers, improve authentication protocols that can detect robotexts, and to ensure telemarketers are respecting the National Do-Not-Call Registry and the rules for how they are supposed to get consent for making marketing calls.
The FCC also adopted a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that enhances protections against spoofed robocalls, steps-up enforcement against illegal robocallers, and explores more rules for shoring-up the call authentication system that protects consumers from unwanted and illegal calls.
These moves follow advocacy from Public Knowledge in concert with the National Consumer Law Center, Electronic Privacy Information Center, and other consumer protection groups that have called for the FCC to adopt stronger rules around robocalls and robotexts. In joint comments with consumer protection groups and in reply comments, Public Knowledge advocated for the FCC to adopt the proposed rules that require carriers provide a baseline of protection against illegal robotexts, while pushing the FCC to go further with rules to cut down on scam and spam text messages. Public Knowledge commends the Commission for taking these common-sense steps in its continuing fight to protect consumers from robocalls and robotexts.
The following can be attributed to Nick Garcia, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“Robocalls and robotexts are a huge annoyance for everyone. We’re frequently bombarded with illegal scams and shady spammers – and many consumers don’t know how to protect themselves or where to turn for help. It’s clear that we need strong rules to cut down on this growing problem.”
“The FCC has made great strides in combating robocalls, and it is encouraging to see that work continue while the FCC now takes steps to ensure consumers are protected from illegal and unwanted text messages. Today’s rules are a win for consumers, providing a common-sense baseline of protection from the kinds of illegal robotexts that are most obvious to identify—those that spoof invalid, unallocated, unused, or inbound-only numbers. We are encouraged to see the FCC adopt these rules and immediately continue on to consider some of the other proposals consumer advocates have been pushing for, like rules to prevent so-called ‘lead generators’ from using one instance of a person giving away a phone number to unleash a tidal wave of spam.”
“Given the success the FCC has had in fighting robocalls, we also hope to see the agency revisit the classification of text messaging. We urge the FCC to act on our petition by properly classifying text messaging as a telecommunications service to ensure the agency has the authority to implement the strong rules needed to make texting as safe and reliable as telephone service.”
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.