Date: January 2, 2020
President Signs S. 151, the
“Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and
Deterrence Act (Pallone-Thune TRACED Act)”
On December 30, 2019, the President signed S. 151, the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (Pallone-Thune TRACED Act), which became Public Law 116-105. On December 19, 2019, the Senate agreed to the House-passed version of S. 151 by a voice vote. The House passed S. 151 as amended, on December 4, 2019 under suspension of the rules by a vote of 417 to 3.
The law, among other things, establishes monetary penalties for robocalls, and requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to mandate telecommunications providers implement call authentication and traceback technology. It also requires the FCC to issue rules, policies, or procedures to protect individuals from robocalls and spoofing, including texts, from an unauthenticated number.
The law does not require the Social Security Administration (SSA) to take any action. However, SSA may be included in the interagency workgroup described below:
Section 5 – Robocall Interagency Workgroup
- Requires the Department of Justice and the FCC to assemble an interagency working group, composed of Federal agency representatives as the Attorney General considers appropriate, to study and report to Congress, no later than 270 days after enactment, on the prevention and prosecution of robocall violations.
Non-SSA related provisions of interest on robocalls and spoofing are as follows:
Section 3 – Penalties
- Amends the Communications Act of 1934 (Communications Act) by establishing monetary penalties for certain robocalls.
Section 4 – Call Authentication
- Requires the FCC to mandate that voice service providers implement the STIR/SHAKEN call authentication framework1 or an alternative effective call authentication framework no later than 18 months after enactment.
- Requires the FCC to issue rules no later than one year after enactment establishing when a voice service provider may block a call based on information provided from an implemented call authentication framework.
Section 6 – Access to Phone Numbers
- Requires the FCC to initiate a proceeding no later than 180 days after enactment to determine, based on an evaluation, whether to modify its policies regarding access to phone number resources and prescribe regulations to implement policy modifications.
Section 7 – Protections from Spoofed Calls
- Requires the FCC, no later than one year after enactment, to initiate rulemaking to help protect a subscriber from receiving unwanted calls or texts from a caller using an unauthenticated number.
Section 13 – Additional Robocall Deterrents
- Requires the FCC no later than 90 days after enactment to issue rules to establish a registration process for a consortium that conducts efforts to trace back the origin of suspected unlawful robocalls.
- Permits the FCC to publish a list of voice service providers and take appropriate actions on providers that:
- refuse to participate in efforts to trace back the origin of robocalls; and
- originate or transmit substantial amounts of unlawful robocalls.