Last minute flurry of requested changes for robotext rules
There’s been a surge of meetings with the FCC by advocates asking for modifications to the robotext blocking rules up for a vote on March 16. Let’s have a look.
The draft rules for robotext blocking were announced on February 23, 2023. Here’s a summary of recently requested changes to these rules. You can read the entire filing by clicking the heading above each comment section.
ACA International, American Financial Services Association, Credit Union National Association, National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (Trade Associations)
The Trade Associations offered suggested edits to the redress notification requirement in the rules. The edits would require the blocking wireless provider to include a link to a webpage describing the provider’s blocking notification process.
Coalition for Open Messaging, State Voices
This coalition of public interest organizations offered suggested edits to discourage the erroneous blocking of lawful text messages. The proposed edits would require providers to block based on specific regulatory rules rather than subjective discretion. Another suggested edit would specifically state that unresolved blocking disputes could be brought before the Commission.
Competitive Carriers Association
The CCA advocated that the Commission allow more time for providers to implement blocking of text messages sent from invalid or DNO numbers. They argued that 30 days is not enough time.
The CTIA asked the Commission to remove the draft order from the March open meeting or, at a minimum, make targeted revisions to address problems:
- Align the blocking rule in Appendix A of the draft order with the text of the draft order. The draft order allows a reasonable DNO list. However, the rule in Appendix A would require blocking numbers that subscribers want to block, rather than a reasonable DNO list.
- The rule should not require a single point of contact for blocking redress. Text messages can be originated by other entities, such as aggregators. A text sender concerned about blocking should contact the entity they use to originate text messages. These originating entities should have a recourse mechanism to handle redress.
- Only legitimate, registered senders should be allowed to request redress, else scammers might try to overwhelm the redress contact with abusive redress requests.
- The Commission should allow 12 months for implementation, not 30 days.
National Consumer Law Center
The NCLC noted that the Do Not Call rules already apply to text messages as well as voice calls. Therefore, they asked the Commission to replace the words “extending,” “extend,” and “extension” with “clarifying,” “clarify,” and “clarification” in the section on DNC Registry applications of the rules.
Professional Associations for Customer Engagement (PACE)
PACE asked the Commission to clarify who is responsible for maintaining a reasonable DNO List. They also asked that DNO List providers periodically scrub their DNO List against the Reassigned Numbers Database.
PACE also noted that the expedited process for removing a facially deficient Robocall Mitigation Database filing has due process implications. They advocated that the Commission should provide an exhaustive list of standards for what constitutes a facially deficient filing and the appropriate responses that would prevent removal.
QuinnStreet advocated that changes to prior express written consent requirements should continue to enable consumer choice and flexibility for website owners.
Responsible Enterprises Against Consumer Harassment (R.E.A.C.H.)
REACH has developed standards that direct-to-consumer marketers would follow to prevent fraudulent lead sales and reduce the damage caused by unwanted robocalls.
REACH contends that a proposal made by Public Knowledge to remove all intermediaries between a consumer and an ultimate provider of a good or service goes much too far. Instead, the REACH standards would impose reasonable limits on the distribution and resale of consent information. These limits would disclose an accurate list of entities that may contact the consumer. The consumer must be able to opt in or out for each partner listed. There would be limits on the number of times a lead may be sold and the duration of the consent.
REACH asked the Commission to extend the comment period to 45 days.
Somos offered a minor edit to the proposed rule on blocking numbers on a reasonable do-not-originate list or equivalent.
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