Just before suspending most operations due to the ongoing partial federal government shutdown, the FCC announced its tentative agenda for its next open meeting, scheduled for January 30, 2019. While the January agenda is brief compared to the jam-packed meetings that typified 2018, the FCC plans to adopt items to advance new anti-spoofing measures combating manipulated caller ID information and take further action to address the management and handling of 911 calls for the IP Captioned Telephone Service (“IP CTS”) that aids communication by those with hearing loss. Rounding out the notable meeting items, the FCC would adopt a mechanism to phase down legacy high-cost support for price cap carriers as well as competitive carriers previously subject to the “identical support rule” and transition such support to the winners of the recent Connect America Fund (“CAF”) Phase II auction.

You will find more details on the significant January meeting items after the break:

Continue Reading FCC Issues Tentative Meeting Agenda Addressing Spoofing and Disabilities Access Before Federal Government Shutdown

businessman is dialing a phone number in officeAt its June 22, 2017 Open Meeting, commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to start a proceeding that will consider proposed changes to the agency’s rules regarding Caller ID privacy. Specifically, the FCC’s notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) proposes to revise its rules in section 64.1601 to allow law enforcement and interested parties to obtain access to blocked caller information in cases of threatening phone calls. Continue Reading June 2017 FCC Meeting Recap: FCC Seeks to Exempt Threatening Calls from Ability to Mask Number Using Caller ID Privacy Protections

Implementing the Truth in Caller ID Act passed last December, the FCC adopted rules prohibiting the fraudulent manipulation of caller ID information.  These so-called anti-"spoofing" rules track the statutory language to prohibit any person from "knowingly transmit[ing] misleading or inaccurate caller identification information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value."  The Commission also released a report to Congress recommending additional legislative changes to strengthen the spoofing protections.

Continue Reading FCC Adopts Anti-Spoofing Rules Implementing Truth In Caller ID Act

As we’ve noted previously, the U.S. Department of Justice has urged the FCC to take an expansive interpretation of the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009.  In comments filed last week, the Department continued its effort to have the FCC apply the rules to VoIP providers, including those not subject to any FCC rules today.

In its comments in response to the FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Department urged the FCC to adopt rules regulating Caller ID spoofing providers directly.  It contends that this authority is rooted in the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 itself and in the Commission’s "ancillary" authority over non-common carriers (the same authority at issue in the Comcast net neutrality case).  The Department does not explicitly mention non-interconnected VoIP providers or one-way VoIP providers in its comments, but its arguments would extend to any service provider offering spoofing services. 

The Department’s comments are available here.

Last week brought new actions in three of the FCC’s most common enforcement areas:  Failure to pay USF contributions, "robocall" telemarketing violations and "junk fax" solicitations.  One action also is an example of anti-spoofing enforcement by the Commission.  The Commission’s actions are briefly described below.

Continue Reading FCC Takes Enforcement Action in USF, Telemarketing and “Junk Fax” Cases

In response to the passage of anti-spoofing legislation late last year, the FCC recently adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to tighten rules relating to the "spoofing" of caller ID information.  The Commission is seeking comments in late April and early May, which would make it tough for the Commission to meet the legislation’s six-month deadline for the adoption of implementing rules.

The NPRM contains a surprising proposal to bypass the ordinary enforcement processes the Commission uses.  See below for that and other highlights of the proposal.

Continue Reading FCC Opens Spoofing Proceeding

In late December, Congress passed new Anti-Spoofing legislation.  As we told you at the time, the Act requires the FCC to enact implementing regulations within 6 months.  In anticipation of that rulemaking, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division submitted a letter to the FCC with its recommendations for the regulations.

The DOJ letter is described in more detail below.  Most notably, DOJ recommends verification obligations be imposed on providers of spoofing services and proposes an expansive definition of "IP-enabled Voice Service" that would impose obligations on services heretofore not subject to FCC regulations.  If the FCC agrees, new classes of entities would be subject to compliance obligations relating to Caller ID spoofing.

Continue Reading US Department of Justice Recommends Anti-Spoofing Rules to FCC

Last month, the FTC issued an “Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” seeking comments on whether and how to strengthen the Caller ID provisions of its Telemarketing Sales Rule. The Rule presently requires telemarketers to provide Caller ID information to allow consumers to screen out unwanted calls. The FTC seeks comments on how to make Caller ID more useful to consumers and combat technologies that hide telemarketers’ identities. Currently, the Caller ID regulations give telemarketers flexibility in determining what telephone numbers to transmit, and in determining whether the name of the telemarketer, or the name of the seller or charity, is displayed on Caller ID services.

Continue Reading Comments on Telemarketing Sales Rule Due This Week

Two developments last month portend a more difficult time for entities "spoofing" caller ID information.  On December 22, President Obama signed into law the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 [sic], which makes it unlawful for a person to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with an intent to defraud.  In addition, the FTC is seeking comment on rule changes to strengthen the caller ID provisions of its Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). 

Descriptions of both developments are provided below.

Continue Reading Rules Against Caller ID Spoofing to Tighten