New Senate Bill To Increase Penalties For Robocalls
A new bill with bi-partisan sponsorship aims to help regulators to have more power to stop robocalls and make it easier for phone carriers to implement call authentication technologies.
Senator John Thune, a Republican who chairs the Commerce Committee, and Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat, introduced a bill that would also bring federal agencies and state attorneys general together to “address impediments to criminal prosecution of robocallers.”
Under these new regulations, the civil penalties would be increased from $1500 per call to $10,000 per call. These would be imposed on companies that flagrantly flouting current telemarketing restrictions.
The bill would boost the civil penalties the Federal Communications Commission can impose on companies which intentionally flout telemarketing restrictions to $10,000 per call, up from $1,500.
Robocalls have been increasing at a rapid pace-there were 5.1 billion unwanted calls in October of this year compared to 3.4 billion in April.
Senator Thune said: “Existing civil penalty rules were designed to impose penalties on lawful telemarketers who make mistakes. This enforcement regime is totally inadequate for scam artists and we need to do more to separate enforcement of carelessness and other mistakes from more sinister actors,”
The legislation would require phone carriers to use technology to verify that incoming calls are legitimate before they reach people’s phones and require new rules to help protect subscribers from receiving unwanted calls or texts from callers using unauthenticated numbers.
The bill also would increase the statute of limitations from one year up to three years for the FCC to impose fines for robocalls and direct federal agencies and state attorneys general to work together on prosecuting robocallers.