State attorneys general driving robocall mitigation
While regulators have avoided prescriptive robocall mitigation plans, state attorneys general are shaping very specific requirements in prosecution settlements. Let’s have a look.
New York state attorney general Letitia James announced a settlement with Message Communications, for sending illegal robocalls on behalf of Jacob Wohl, Jack Burkman and related entities. In related litigation, the New York State Office of the Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against Wohl, Burkman, and their Project 1599 organization for disseminating voter intimidation robocalls.
Robocall mitigation plans
In the Consent Decree, the New York State Office of the Attorney General (OAG) outlined a specific robocall mitigation plan that Message Communications must implement.
Here are highlights of the New York OAG plan:
- No more voter intimidation robocalls.
- Adopt a written policy explicitly prohibiting customers from violating laws.
- Require new customers to certify in writing that their use of the services will not violate laws.
- Prohibit customers from sending messages to numbers on the Do Not Call Registry
- Vet new customers
- Vet new messages that the customer indicates are related to elections
- Terminate customers that initiate calls that result in a traceback
In another provider robocall case, the Ohio Attorney General also specified a detailed robocall mitigation plan in its compliance agreement between the Ohio AG and G4 Telecom. This agreement outlines a rigorous vetting and traffic monitoring program that G4 Telecom must follow.
These plans are similar in their emphasis on vetting customers. The New York plan also includes a broad statement about complying with all other laws. This would include things like the TCPA and its consent requirements. The New York and Ohio plans differ in requirements to monitor traffic, perhaps because all calls originated by Message Communications are batches of robocalls.
In these settlements, Message Communications agreed to pay $50,000 in restitution to robocall recipients. G4 Telecom agreed to pay $20,000 to cover Ohio’s investigation costs.
While regulators have been reluctant to invoke specific robocall mitigation requirements, it’s becoming clear that prosecutors will not hesitate to do so.
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