FCC’s Robocall Enforcement Ineffective, Congress Urged to Empower Agency

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Title: FCC Struggles with Ineffective Robocall Enforcement, Urges Congress for Greater Authority

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is facing criticisms for its inadequate efforts to combat the persistent problem of robocalls, as highlighted in a recent Senate subcommittee hearing. Testimonies revealed that the FCC’s current methods have failed to make a significant dent in the issue, leading to calls for Congress to empower the agency with stronger enforcement measures.

According to Margot Freeman Saunders, senior counsel for the National Consumer Law Center, the FCC’s attempts to address the problem have fallen short. It appears that either the agency lacks sufficient legal tools to tackle unwanted and illegal calls effectively, or it has not yet figured out how to deploy these tools in a successful manner.

During the hearing, Senator Ben Ray Luján, the chair of the subcommittee, expressed his concerns over the FCC’s ineffective enforcement and highlighted the challenge of collecting fines imposed on robocallers. Luján emphasized the need for consequences to be imposed on scammers and unscrupulous companies that exploit American families through fraudulent practices utilizing telecom networks. He stressed the importance of empowering regulators and enforcement agencies to hold those who break the law accountable for their actions.

Statistics shared during the hearing painted a concerning picture. Americans reportedly receive between 1.5 billion to 3 billion scam and illegal telemarketing calls each month. What exacerbates the problem is the ever-evolving technology employed by fraudsters to deceive consumers and avoid enforcement. Falsified consumer consent for telemarketing is on the rise, with automated bots and artificial intelligence systems utilizing public data to consent to calls on behalf of unsuspecting individuals. These automated robocalls can even mimic human voices and mannerisms, leading recipients to believe they are interacting with genuine individuals.

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Robocall numbers continue to remain high despite the FCC’s efforts to implement new regulations and rulings, such as the deployment of STIR/SHAKEN Caller ID authentication technology and enforcement actions against VoIP providers and illegal callers. It is evident that the FCC requires additional authority from Congress to address the issue more effectively.

Loyaan Egal, the Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, highlighted the agency’s enforcement efforts, including the imposition of $500 million in fines against robocallers in the current year. Egal also mentioned that the FCC’s actions have led to a 21 percent reduction in robocalls to Americans, as reported by a study conducted by vendor Robokiller.

However, the FCC seeks further authority from Congress to collect fines without involving the Department of Justice (DOJ). The agency currently refers robocalling forfeiture orders to the DOJ for collection, which has resulted in significant sums potentially remaining in the pockets of perpetrators. Furthermore, the FCC wants Congress to expand the definition of an automatic telephone dialing system in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which would help in regulating bad actors who manipulate technology to target consumers with unwanted text messages.

In conclusion, the FCC’s efforts to combat robocalls have proven ineffective, leading to calls for Congress to grant the agency greater authority. With the rising volume of scam and illegal calls, it is crucial to empower regulators and enforcement agencies to protect consumers from financial losses. Providing the FCC with the ability to collect fines independently and expanding the TCPA’s definition of an automatic telephone dialing system are key steps in addressing this pervasive issue.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

What is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) struggling with?

The FCC is struggling with effectively enforcing regulations to combat the persistent problem of robocalls.

Why have the FCC's current methods been ineffective?

It appears that either the agency lacks sufficient legal tools or has not figured out how to deploy them in a successful manner.

What are the concerns raised by Senator Ben Ray Luján?

Senator Ben Ray Luján expressed concerns over the FCC's ineffective enforcement and highlighted the challenge of collecting fines imposed on robocallers. He emphasized the need for consequences to be imposed on those who exploit American families through fraudulent practices.

How many scam and illegal telemarketing calls do Americans reportedly receive each month?

Americans reportedly receive between 1.5 billion to 3 billion scam and illegal telemarketing calls each month.

What technologies do fraudsters use to deceive consumers and avoid enforcement?

Fraudsters use ever-evolving technologies, such as automated bots, artificial intelligence systems, and falsified consumer consent, to deceive consumers and avoid enforcement.

Despite the FCC's efforts, why do robocall numbers remain high?

Robocall numbers remain high due to the evolving nature of technology and the need for additional authority from Congress to address the issue more effectively.

How much in fines has the FCC imposed against robocallers in the current year?

The FCC has imposed $500 million in fines against robocallers in the current year.

Why does the FCC seek further authority from Congress?

The FCC seeks further authority from Congress to collect fines independently and to expand the definition of an automatic telephone dialing system in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

What steps does the FCC propose to address the issue of robocalls?

The FCC proposes granting the agency greater authority to collect fines independently and expanding the TCPA's definition of an automatic telephone dialing system.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

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