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.


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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.

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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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