What’s Next for the TRACED Act?
June 1st, 2020 - Telecom, Identity and Protection
By Paul Florack, Vice President of Product Management, TNS
With Americans being bombarded by an estimated 200 million unwanted robocalls a day, it is important now, more than ever, that consumers are protected from potentially life-altering scams. Look no further than tactics scammers have employed during the initial months of the coronavirus pandemic, targeting Americans with robocalls promising fake cures, testing kits, masks, stimulus payouts and interest rate reductions, all designed to separate victims from their savings and personal information.
Policy and regulatory efforts to combat robocalls advanced at the end of last year when the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act was signed into law by President Trump on December 30th, 2019. This law aims to provide the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and enforcement bodies with new abilities to quickly combat scammers and reduce fraudulent robocall schemes.
The TRACED Act complements stepped up FCC action to protect the general public from robocalls – particularly in the middle of a health crisis when scammers tend to ramp up activities. In February, the Agency sent letters to seven gateway providers that were used as a point of entry for traffic into the U.S. telephone network to assist the government and industry efforts in identifying illegal robocalls. In addition, in early April, both the FCC and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) demanded that voice service providers “do their part to stop coronavirus related scam robocalls from harming American consumers to cut off these calls or face serious consequences.”
So, what does the rest of 2020 hold for the TRACED Act and robocall enforcement? Here are some dates and milestones to stay on top of in the months ahead:
- By June 29, 2020:
- The FCC must begin a proceeding to determine how its policies regarding access to numbering resources can be modified to reduce access to numbers by potential illegal robocallers.
- The FCC must establish an advisory committee to combat robocalls targeting hospitals to be known as the Hospital Robocall Protection Group.
- By July 27, 2020:
- Annual Public Notice seeking comment on private-led efforts to trace back the origin of suspected unlawful robocalls.
- By September 25, 2020:
- Promulgate regulations to implement the Act’s civil forfeiture provisions.
- By December 24, 2020:
- The Hospital Robocall Protection Group must issue best practices regarding how service providers can combat unlawful robocalls made to hospitals, how hospitals can better protect themselves, and how Federal and state governments can help combat these calls.
- By December 30, 2020:
- Report to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation:
- Analysis of the extent to which providers have implemented call authentication frameworks.
- Assessment of the efficacy of call authentication frameworks.
- Assess provider compliance with the deadline of June 30, 2021 to implement call authentication frameworks, including burdens and barriers to implementation.
- Release best practices that providers may use when implementing call authentication frameworks.
- Promulgate rules to:
- Establish when a provider may block a call;
- Establish a safe harbor;
- Establish a process to permit a wrongfully blocked party to verify its calls’ authenticity; and
- Ensure that calls originating from a service provider subject to a delay in implementing the call authentication framework are not unreasonably blocked because the calls are not able to be authenticated.
- Submit a progress report on proceeding to protect called parties from one-ring scams to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
- By December 30, 2020, and annually thereafter:
- In consultation with the FTC, report to Congress annually on enforcement of the Act for the previous year.
- Send to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation a report that:
- States the number of instances during the preceding year in which the Chief of the Enforcement Bureau provided evidence suggesting a robocall violation to the Attorney General; and
- Contains a general summary of the types of robocall violations.
- Submit to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation a report on private-led efforts to trace back the origin of suspected unlawful robocalls.
- By July 27, 2020 (and annually thereafter), the FCC will seek public comment on this issue.
To help carriers of all sizes meet the demands of the new legislation, Metaswitch and TNS offer Call Guardian Authentication Hub, a fully managed service that allows carriers to quickly and economically go-to-market with a robocall prevention solution. Call Guardian Authentication Hub combines the TNS Call Guardian analytics and robocall detection solution with Metaswitch’s STIR/SHAKEN-compliant MetaSphere QCall solution that enables inter-carrier calls to be authenticated and validated.
For North American carriers interested in getting started today and signing calls leveraging the Call Guardian Authentication Hub, please visit here.