‘STOP’: Ohio congressman authors legislation to combat illegal robocalls

OHIO — Ohio Congressman Bob Latta has authored legislation that would combat illegal robocalls.

Called the Support Tools to Obliterate Pesky Robocalls Act (STOP), the legislation will be part of a legislative subcommittee hearing in the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Tuesday.

In a press release, Latta said that in one study Americans were targeted with more than 26 billion robocalls in 2018, a 46 percent increase over the year before.

“Nearly every American has faced that moment where they think they’re getting a call from somebody they know, only to realize it’s an annoying robocall,” Latta said in the release. “They’re a nuisance, a waste of time, and the scams perpetrated by robocallers often have a real-life impact on our vulnerable populations. The STOP Robocalls Act takes a multi-prong approach to the problem by easing the ability for customers to utilize robocall blocking services, establishing a process for private entities to share information with the Federal Communications Commission, and conducting a study on the benefits of requiring the maintenance of records by providers of covered voice over internet protocol service. The proliferation of robocalls is a quality-of-life issue, and we need to take action to curtail them.”

The bill would do the following:

· Allow a carrier of voice services to provide robocall blocking technologies to customers on an informed opt-out basis at no charge. This would not alter providers’ current ability to offer robocall blocking services on an informed opt-in basis, whether or not in exchange for a fee. Many opt-in services have a low adoption rate, therefore, this new provision is intended to create a pathway for customers to receive free illegal robocall blocking services.

· Require the FCC to promulgate regulations to establish a process for private entities to voluntarily share information with the Commission. Such information includes a call or text message that has been illegally spoofed or is an illegal robocall. This is intended to allow better information sharing between private companies and the FCC to better track and stop illegal robocalls and spoofing.

· Require the FCC to conduct a study on requiring a provider of covered voice over internet protocol (VoIP) service to retain records relating to each call transmitted over VoIP that are sufficient to trace and track the source of the call. This is intended to provide information to the Commission that can better assist in tracking and tracing illegal robocalls.

Read more here. 

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