Proposed FCC Rules Tighten Restrictions on Annoying Robocalls
NEWS ANALYSIS: If adopted, the new rules will place significant restrictions on automatic recorded phone calls as well as those that are autodialed, but have real people standing by to annoy you.In a background briefing on May 27, Federal Communications Commission officials announced a new effort proposed by Chairman Tom Wheeler to virtually eliminate all automatically dialed calls as well as nearly all unsolicited calls to wireless and wireline phones in the United States. The new rules would give phone owners new power to stop unwanted calls by any reasonable means, including by a verbal request. The old loopholes, including the existence of an established business relationship, are gone. Also gone are exemptions for political activities and debt collectors. Political pollsters can still call landline phones, and politicians can still discuss issues over landlines, but that appears to be the limit. Political calls to wireless phones are no longer going to be protected. The new rules will also allow wireless phone owners to block incoming text messages of all types. The FCC is scheduled to vote on the proposed rules June 18, and approval is certain at least by a party-line vote considering how much the public hates robocalls. Then the commission will determine when the new rules will take effect.
The broad new rules proposed by the FCC include a clarification to existing law, including the Title II carriage requirements that makes it clear that the carrier's Title II obligations to deliver calls don't trump the rights of the recipient to choose what they wish to receive. This means that the FCC will make it completely clear that offering call-blocking services is totally legal, Title II notwithstanding.