FCC Publishes Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding Blocking Certain Incoming Calls

A notice has been published in the Federal Register, soliciting comments on a proposal to amend the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and grant telecom carriers more authority to block calls from being placed if it appears as though the incoming call is a robocall.

Comments are due by July 3, 2017.

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed rules that would:

  • Allow providers to block calls when the subscriber to a particular telephone number requests that calls originating from that number be blocked;
  • Permit providers to block calls originating from invalid numbers;
  • Permit providers to block calls originating from valid numbers that are not allocated to a voice service provider; and
  • Permit providers to block calls originating from valid numbers that are allocated but not assigned to a subscriber

The objective of the proposed rule would be to “remove regulatory roadblocks” and “ensure that industry has the flexibility to use robust tools to address illegal traffic,” according to the notification.

The FCC notes that there are some potential legal and technical issues in its proposal. For example, with respect to allowing subscribers to request calls from certain numbers be blocked, carriers would either have to share information with one another or consumers would have to submit requests to every carrier separately.

The FCC is also proposing creating a whitelist of “legitimate callers” to make sure their calls are not blocked by whatever mechanisms are put in place.

 

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