The Federal Communications Commission has begun the process of interpreting the Appeals Court ruling in ACA International v. FCC into how it will “target and eliminate unwanted robocalls” through a proposed rule.
The FCC has been working on a number of proposed rules related to eliminating robocalls. This particular proposed rule would create a database of phone numbers that have been reassigned, to help companies identify whether the phone number associated with an individual still belongs to that person.
In publishing an amended proposed rule in the Federal Register, the FCC is now, among other questions, seeking specific information about the impact of the Appeals Court ruling on creating a reassigned number database.
The FCC is considering adopting a safe harbor from liability under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act for those entities which use the reassigned number database. Among the many questions asked by the FCC in seeking comment on the proposed rule, it asked:
If the Commission were to adopt a safe harbor under the TCPA, how does the D.C. Circuit’s recent ruling in ACA International v. FCC impact its ability to adopt a safe harbor, if at all?
Under changes made by the FCC to the TCPA in 2015, changes which were undone as a result of the ruling in ACA’s suit, the FCC instituted a one-call safe harbor for entities contacting individuals on their cell phone. If, after that one attempt, the caller could not confirm the number still belonged to the individual attempting to be contacted, the caller could face a TCPA violation if it tried to contact the individual again.