Aaron Foss, the founder of Nomorobo, a call-blocking app, made a bold suggestion during his testimony yesterday before the House Committee on Energy & Commerce’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology’s hearing on how to stop robocalls.
One of four individuals to testify before the committee as it discussed a number of different bills that have been introduced to try and stem the proliferation of illegal robocalls, Foss suggested that an opt-in system be created for individuals to consent to receiving robocalls from certain parties. This is a departure from the current system, which gives consumers the opportunity to opt-out and revoke consent to be contacted.
“I propose that we change the laws around sales robocalls from an ‘opt-out’ system into an ‘opt- in’ one,” Foss said during his testimony. “Right now, you have to take action if you don’t want to get the calls. I believe that you should have to take action if you do want to receive them from certain parties. In order to make sales robocalls, you must have the current owner’s express written permission. It doesn’t matter if the call is being made to a landline or a mobile phone, a residential line or business one. It doesn’t matter if your number is on the Do Not Call registry or not. If you don’t have consent, the answer is ‘No’. You can’t legally call that person with a prerecorded message.”
The House is considering as many as seven different robocall-related bills during its current session. Such a large and diverse set of bills creates some confusion and chaos regarding which measures should be supported and advanced. A published report about the hearing indicated that it was adjourned without mention of scheduling a markup vote on any of the measures in the near future.