FCC proposed rules on robotexting and robocall prevention

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed rules to prevent robotexting and robocalls to reassigned numbers. Here are the details.

Declaratory ruling on text messaging

This rule would clearly establish that text messaging services are information services, not telephone services. This distinction would allow carriers to continue to use robotext blocking and anti-spoofing measures to protect consumers from unwanted text messages, called robotexts.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

“Americans rely on and trust text messaging,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “That’s why we need to act to prevent a deluge of spam texts and scam messages.”

Order to create database of reassigned numbers

This order would call for the creation of a single, comprehensive database of reassigned numbers. This information would be provided by phone companies that obtain North American Numbering Plan U.S. geographic numbers.

Millions of telephone numbers are reassigned each year. While reassigning numbers is an efficient use of the number pool, it can cause problems for everyone involved:

  • Subscribers with reassigned numbers get unwanted calls intended for the previous telephone number holders.
  • Subscribers miss calls from parties they forgot to notify after changing their phone numbers.
  • Organizations with prior authorized consent are unable to contact their customers and inadvertently annoy new number holders instead.

The reassigned numbers database would enable legitimate callers to check whether a number has been reassigned and thereby avoid making unwanted calls.

Chairman Pai explained, “I’m also proposing new rules to help reduce robocalls to reassigned numbers by creating a database that will help legitimate businesses stop calling those numbers.”

The FCC will discuss these items at its Open Commission Meeting on December 12, 2018.

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