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New Anti-Robocalling Bill Heads to House Floor

The House Energy and Commerce Panel is introducing a bill to help end the invasion of unwanted robocalls to the floor, an issue that both chambers of Congress have made a priority this session.

The bipartisan Stopping Bad Robocalls Act would prevent a slate of strategies fraudsters use to scam customers over the phone and via text. If approved, the bill would make it simpler for the federal government to go after the fraudsters and issue harder penalties. The Federal Communications Commission would further need to update what it considers a “robocall,” which might require more companies to obtain consent from clients before making robotic calls.

Besides, the bill would demand that carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile begin deploying the call authentication protocols SHAKEN/STIR. The protocols would work to assist users in distinguishing if a call is coming from a real caller by placing a message in the caller ID confirming the call is genuine. The bill additionally requires that call-blocking tech be carried out without a further charge to customers.

The Stopping Bad Robocalls Act matches the Senate’s TRACED Act spearheaded by Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Ed Markey (D-MA), which is expecting a vote in the House. The TRACED Act would install an interagency task force to deal with the problem and extend the FCC’s statute of limitations for going after these robocallers. User advocates criticized the Senate’s bill for not going far enough, and the House’s laws push customer protections further.

Now, both bills are headed to the House.

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