The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act, a bipartisan bit of legislation that should make life harder for the villains behind robocalls, was signed into law today by the president. It’s still possible to get things done in D.C. after all!
We’ve covered the TRACED Act several times previously, as robocalls are, in addition to being horribly annoying, a uniquely annoying high-tech threat. Using clever targeting and spoofing technology, scammers are placing millions of calls that at best irritate and at worst take advantage of the vulnerable.
The new law won’t end that practice overnight, but it does add some useful tools to regulators’ toolboxes. Here’s how I summarized the bill’s provisions earlier this month:
- Extends FCC’s statute of limitations on robocall offenses and increases potential fines
- Requires an FCC rulemaking helping protect consumers from spam calls and texts (this is already underway)
- Requires annual FCC report on robocall enforcement and allows for it to formally recommend legislation
- Requires adoption on a reasonable timeline of the STIR/SHAKEN framework for preventing call spoofing
- Prevents carriers from charging for the above service, and shields them from liability for reasonable mistakes
- Requires the attorney general to convene an interagency task force to look at prosecution of offenders
- Opens the door to Justice Department prosecution of offenders
- Establishes a handful of specific cutouts and studies to make sure the rules work and interested parties are giving feedback
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took a break from other business to laud the enactment of the law: