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USA: FCC proposes $2M fine against Lingo Telecom for robocalls

On May 28, 2024, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published its Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture in case FCC 24-60, in which it proposed a fine of $2 million against Lingo Telecom, LLC, for violations of the FCC rules following an investigation. 

Background to the decision 

The FCC stated that two days before the New Hampshire presidential primary in January 2024, 9,581 robocalls were received by potential voters which included a deepfake audio of President Joe Biden's cloned voice encouraging them not to vote in the primary election. The phone number to callers appeared to belong to a prominent local political consultant. As a result, the FCC launched an investigation into the calls with the New Hampshire Attorney General (AG), the bipartisan Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force (Task Force), the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), and US Telecom's Industry Traceback Group (ITG). 

In coordination with the New Hampshire AG, the FCC issued a cease-and-desist from carrying out illegal robocalls in February 2024 concerning the alleged violations. 

Findings of the FCC 

The investigation determined that other organizations were engaged in conducting the calls. Lingo Telecom was the originating provider in the call path. Lingo identified Life Corp. as the party that transmitted the calls to Lingo. Lingo then identified Video Broadcasting Corp. as the organization that used Life's services and equipment to transmit calls at the request of its client, Steve Kramer (a political consultant who received a separate fine from the FCC for the alleged violations). The FCC alleges that Lingo violated Section 64.6301(a) of the FCC rules by failing to fully implement the STIR/SHAKEN authentication framework in their internet protocol networks. The FCC highlighted that the STIR/SHAKEN framework helps protect consumers from illegal calls by enabling authenticated caller ID information to travel securely with the call itself through the entire call path, and serves as a digital identifier for each call to allow tracebacks of suspicious calls, inform robocall blocking tools, and support more reliable caller ID information for consumers.  


The FCC noted that the proposed action is not final and Lingo will be allowed to respond and have evidence and arguments considered by the FCC before further action is taken. 

You can read the press release here and the Notice of Apparent Liability here