FCC Takes Big Robocall Action During Winter Open Meeting

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As expected we saw some big robocall news out of D.C. this morning. The FCC has made two rulings today that will impact American cell phones users in a big way.

First, the FCC confirmed that text messages remain “information services” and not “telecommunications services.” Had the FCC shifted the classification of text messages it would have meant wireless providers would be required to connect text messages without regard to content–just like it they must do (mostly) with telephone calls. By keeping text messages defined as “information services” the carriers can continue culling out spam messages and refusing to deliver messages that don’t meet certain requirements.  A press release on text messages remaining information services is available here. 

Next, the FCC adopted its proposed recycled number database. Notably Commissioner O’Reilly seemed to believe that the database would not be necessary if the TCPA were properly read to allow calls with the consent of the “intended recipient” of the calls. But the Commission as a whole looked at larger concerns regarding preventing calls to wrong numbers. As I reported yesterday, the Report and Order will require callers to pay for the database on a pay-per-view basis. 

A press release on the recycled number database can be found here. 

We’ll provide an update when the actual draft items are released.


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2 replies »

  1. Eric – Yesterday you said “Notice that the FCC specifically and expressly refuses to opine how the use of the database might cut down on TCPA liability. It could have, for instance, created a safeharbor. But it didn’t.” Today the FCC press release says, “To further encourage callers to use the database, the Commission is providing callers a safe harbor from liability for any calls to reassigned numbers caused by database error.” Did the FCC change its mind, or is this safe harbor less than the comprehensive safe harbor you had in mind, or what? Thanks.

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