US House of Representatives wages war on robocallers with a new bill that penalizes scammers and requires carriers to block fake numbers
- New bill was approved in the House with a 417-3 vote on Wednesday
- Bill will allow officials to penalize robocalling operations more aggressively
- Also requires cell phone carriers to vet and block all incoming scam calls
The US House of Representatives approved a new anti-robocall bill by a nearly unanimous vote.
Called the TRACED Act, this law will penalize scammers and require phone carries to block robocalls and ensure all incoming calls are from real numbers.
The bill comes after complaints came pouring in about the scams, as more than 49 billion robocalls were placed just this year – 5.6 billion occurred in November alone.
The TRACE ACT, short for Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, was approved by a 417-3 vote and sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr, a democrat from New Jersey.
Scroll down for videos
The US House of Representatives approved a new anti-robocall bill by a nearly unanimous vote. Called the TRACED Act, this law will penalize scammers and require phone carries to block robocalls and ensure all incoming calls are from real numbers
Pallone said on the House floor Wednesday: ‘Today the House will take strong bipartisan action to protect consumers from illegal robocalls.’
‘A whopping 5.6 billion robocalls were made to Americans in November alone.’
‘Today, the House is giving Americans back control of their phones.’
Representatives Justin Amash (I-Mich.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) were the three votes against passing the bill, as reported by The Hill.
The TRACE ACT, short for Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, was approved by a 417-3 vote on Wednesday
Massie worried that the law would give the Federal Communications Commission ‘too much authority.’
The summary of the bill reads: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) shall promulgate rules establishing when a provider may block a voice call based on information provided by the call authentication framework, but also must establish a process to permit a calling party adversely affected by the framework to verify the authenticity of their calls.’
‘The FCC shall also initiate a rulemaking to help protect a subscriber from receiving unwanted calls or texts from a caller using an unauthenticated number.’
‘This bill requires the Department of Justice and the FCC to assemble an interagency working group to study and report to Congress on the enforcement of the prohibition of certain robocalls.’
‘Specifically, the working group will look into how to better enforce against robocalls by examining issues like the types of laws, policies, or constraints that could be inhibiting enforcement.’
Cell phone carries will be required to block all robocalls under the new law and do so for customers free of charge.
It will give government regulators more time to find scammers and penalize them more harshly than ever before
The FCC will also be tasked with providing reports to Congress about what measures are in place to take down illegal scamming operations and oversee a group of companies that will determine where the calls are coming from.
In addition, the act would push the Department of Justice to take action against Many carriers, such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, are on board with the new bill and plan to provide customers with tools to block the calls and will implement call-blocking technology at no extra cost.
The bill is supported by the Senate, making it likely, according to The Hill, reach President Trump’s hands by the end of the year.