The chair of the Federal Communications Commission yesterday proposed a rule that would require mobile service providers to automatically block text messages that are “highly likely” of being illegal.
Along with extending Do-Not-Call registry protections to text messages, the proposed rule require providers to block texts from upstream providers that are known to be transmitting illegal robocalls, once notified by the FCC. Text messages that purport to be from numbers on a Do-Not-Originate list would also be required to be blocked, such as those sent from numbers that are invalid, unallocated, or currently not being used.
“Missing packages that don’t exist; confirmation of payments that didn’t happen; links to shady websites; and truncated ‘wrong number’ messages from strangers. These scam robotexts are a part of everyday life for too many of us,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, chair of the FCC, in a statement. “I’m asking my colleagues to join me in adopting the first FCC rules to focus on shutting down scam texts. But we’re not stopping here. Because we are going to keep at it and develop more ways to take on this growing consumer threat.”
The proposal would also seek to close a loophole for lead generators. This would occur by amending the consent requirements of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act so that consent would be granted only to callers “logically and topically” associated with the website that solicits consent and whose names are clearly disclosed on the same web page. The proposal uses the website of an insurance lead generator as an example. The site allows consumers to comparison shop for insurance policies. But when a consumer grants consent to be contacted by the sites “partner companies” — listed on a separate page — it included insurance companies and other companies not related to insurance.