The number of complaints alleging violations of Section 227 of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act continued their marked decline during the first 11 months of 2020 and were on pace to fall for the third consecutive year, according to data released last week by the Federal Communications Commission.
The data was released as part of an annual report submitted to Congress by the FCC as required by the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act.
Consumers can file complaints alleging violations of four different sections of the TCPA — 227(b), 227(c), 227(d), and 227(e). Section 227(b) is the use of an automated telephone dialing system, while section 227(c) covers the ability to opt out of receiving telephone solicitations. Section 277(d) covers using artificial or pre-recorded voices when making calls, and Section 227(e) covers Caller ID spoofing.
The number of complaints across all four categories have declined since reaching high-water marks in 2018. The number of complaints alleging violations of Section 227(b) peaked at 100,104 in 2018, but were on pace to total 38,809 in 2020, a drop of 61%.
While also providing an overview of enforcement actions it has taken against robocallers, the report details proposals for reducing the number of unlawful robocalls and other efforts that have been undertaken to fight illegal robocalls. Those proposals include facilitating consumer-driven call blocking and rolling out the STIR/SHAKEN framework for combatting Caller ID spoofing.
“The Commission recommends continuing progress in the implementation of STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication technology across the voice network to reduce the number of unlawful calls, and especially calls with unlawfully spoofed caller ID information,” the report concludes. “Widespread implementation of STIR/SHAKEN will reduce the effectiveness of illegal spoofing, allowing law enforcement to identify bad actors more easily, and help voice service providers identify calls with illegally spoofed caller ID information before those calls reach consumers.”
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