A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the Senate that would give the Federal Communications Commission the authority to allow carriers to automatically block calls believed to be “highly likely to be unlawful” while also providing a safe harbor to carriers in the event a legitimate call is accidentally blocked.
S.2204, The Data Analytics Robocall Technology Act of 2019, or the DART Act, was introduced by Sen. Mike Crapo [R-Idaho], and co-sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar [D-Minn.]. The bill would task the FCC with carrying out a one-year pilot program that would task carriers to use “data analytics and caller identification authentication procedures” to identify illegal robocalls and automatically block them from being connected. Along with providing a safe harbor against legitimate calls that are accidentally blocked, the bill would require the FCC to establish a process through which mis-labeled calls can be reported back to the carriers.
Carriers would be required to maintain a whitelist of numbers that are never to be blocked, including those made by public safety facilities “designated to originate or route emergency calls,” those originating from a government agency, and those made by schools or educational institutions regarding emergencies or weather-related closures.
Individuals would also be able to provide a whitelist of approved numbers to their carriers and numbers not on the list would be automatically blocked.
Upon completion of the pilot program, the FCC would then be able to make the program permanent if it was determined to be “effective.”