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USA: FCC announces push for robocall blocking consumer resources

The Federal Communications Commission ('FCC') announced, on 13 April 2021, that it is pushing for robocall blocking consumer resources to ensure free consumer tools are available to block robocalls. In addition, the FCC also issued new robocall cease-and-desist letters as regulated by the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act. Specifically, the FCC listed two cease-and-desist letters that had been sent to R Squared Telecom LLC and Phonetime Inc. dba Tellza about the prospect of enforcement if they continue to make a high volume of robocalls.

Moreover, the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau issued a Public Notice and sent letters to major phone companies and third-party developers of call blocking tools, to get updated information about their efforts to enable customers to block unwanted calls. Furthermore, the FCC noted that th3 Bureau seeks to learn more about the tools available to consumers, their effectiveness, and any potential impact on 911 services and public safety including questions such as:

  • whether the companies are offering call blocking tools to consumers at no charge;
  • how the companies measure the effectiveness of blocking tools; and
  • that protections the companies have put in place to ensure that call blocking does not interfere with emergency services.

Finally, the FCC noted that they request data from 1 March 2020 to the present, that comments are due by 30 April 2021 and submitted electronically here.

You can read the press release here, the Public Notice here, the R Suared enforcement letter here, and the Tellza enforcement letter here.