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TCPA: Regulatory: Commission Releases and Actions

The Federal Communications Commission’s November 16, 2017 Report and Order aimed at combatting unlawful robocalls was published in the Federal Register on January 12, 2018 and becomes effective on February 12, 2018. More details on the Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“FNPRM”) can be found in our November TCPA Digest.

On January 23, 2018, the comment window closed on the FNPRM which accompanied the November 16 Order. In the FNPRM, the Commission sought comment on whether providers should be required to provide a formal challenge mechanism for incorrectly blocked robocalls and whether it should implement reporting obligations on all voice service providers in order to measure the effectiveness of industry efforts. Many commenters expressed skepticism with the Commission’s approach, instead supporting a mitigation process and requesting flexibility to pursue industry-led efforts. The Federal Trade Commission’s staff submitted a comment in the proceeding arguing that, because the types of calls that can be blocked are very limited, the record does not support requiring “a formal challenge mechanism for errors resulting from provider-based call blocking authorized by this Report and Order.” In contrast, companies which interface directly with consumers as part of legitimate business or marketing transactions voiced concerns regarding the potential for frequent and inaccurate call labeling leading to the incompletion of their calls. They asked the Commission to adopt a simple and streamlined policy that would ensure the completion of legitimate business calls. Reply comments will be due on February 22, 2018.

Additionally, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing a February 26, 2018 meeting of the Consumer Advisory Committee, where it is expected to consider a recommendation from its Robocalls Working Group regarding call authentication.

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