A bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives that seeks to amend the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in order to expand the definition of “automated telephone dialing system” while also expanding the provisions of the law to include text messages as well as phone calls.
The bill would amend the definition of an ATDS from equipment which has the capacity “to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator” to equipment which has the capacity “to store or produce telephone numbers to be called or sent a text message” and by amending “to dial such numbers” to “automatically dial or send a text message to such numbers.”
The bill would also require the Federal Communications Commission to issue a rule, within 18 months of the law’s enactment, that “with consideration to modern dialing practices and consumer preferences” define the terms “automatically,” “dial,” “send,” and “charged for the call.”
Entities making calls would also be required to check the FCC’s Reassigned Number Database before making any calls or sending text messages.
“While we must continue to educate Americans about how to protect themselves and their loved ones from fraud, we also need stronger enforcement mechanisms to crack down on the criminals who perpetrate these scams,” Rep. Krishnamoorthi said in a statement. “Our legislation, the Robotext Scam Prevention Act, would do precisely that by expanding the Federal Communications Commissions’ enforcement powers to bring digital scammers to justice, regardless of the technology they use to send these texts.”