New York State Prepares to Unveil Broadest “Robocall” Restriction Yet- Here’s How its Supposed to Work

Can New York really completely ban all robocalls?  Well, that is the goal of new legislation introduced into the New York Assembly and Senate last month.   

But what will the legislation actually do?

The legislation would make it unlawful for any person or entity to send robocalls without prior consent. I know, this sounds familiar.

But the Robocall Prevention Act goes even further than the TCPA.  The legislation will put the responsibility on the telephone companies to implement software that will prevent or limit these calls. The bills refer to this software as “call mitigation technology.” This technology would identify “an incoming call or text message as being, or as probably being, a robocall and, on that basis, block[s] the call or message, divert[s] it to the called person’s answering system, or otherwise prevent[s] it from being completed to the called person,” the bills state.

Wait, “probably being” a robocall? What in the world does that mean? Hmmm. It remains to be seen how this technology will work and who will be the “judge” of what might be a robocall. Free speech issues are everywhere to be found here, especially as the call mitigation technology is content specific in that it will permit calls identified as being made by law enforcement or a public safety entity.

The legislation also increases the enforcement powers of the Attorney General and provides for civil penalties of not more than $2,000 per call and not more than $20,000 for calls placed within 72 hours.    

Setting side these issues, the New York legislation joins a spat of recent state-level robocall levels that are complicating an already fractured regulatory field in this area. Just last month we discussed how Indiana was considering adding two categories of calls that would be exempt from the state’s “Do Not Call” statute. And Virginia recently enacted its own legislative changes to its robocall statute. 

As we in TCPAWorld know, the real question is whether legislation like what is being proposed in New York will really stop the scam artists who are responsible for so many of the robocalls that have spurred on this legislation?  Stay tuned.

Here you may read the text of the Assembly bill and here you may read the text of the Senate bill.

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