California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed SB 208, the Consumer Call Protection Act of 2019, to, among other things, “identify those engaging in deceptive robocalls and protect Californians, especially vulnerable populations, from impostors using telecommunications to defraud consumers.”

The new law, which adds Section 2893.5 to the Public Utilities Code, would require each telecommunications service provider, on or before January 1, 2021, to implement STIR/SHAKEN protocols “or alternative technology that provides comparable or superior capability to verify and authenticate caller identification for calls carried over an internet protocol network.” A “good faith effort” to comply with this requirement will be a defense to a claim for violating Section 2893.5 in this regard.

Further, pursuant to authority granted to the states in 47 U.S.C. §227 (i.e., the Telephone Consumer Protection Act), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the Attorney General (AG) of the state are authorized to “take all appropriate actions to enforce that section and any regulation promulgated under that section.” In addition, the law provides that the CPUC may, at the request of the AG, work with the AG for the purposes of enforcing the TCPA provisions that specifically provide state authority (i.e., 47 U.S.C. §227(e), (g)).

Finally, the new law specifically provides that it does not (a) require a telecommunications service provider to employ call blocking, (b) limit any right otherwise permitted by law and (c) otherwise expand the power of the CPUC.

While the states proceed to address the problem of illegal robocalls, TCPAWorld awaits the results of Congressional negotiations on the Federal level. Recent trade press reports indicate that Senate and House efforts to meld S. 151, the TRACED Act, and H.R. 3375, the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, may produce results after Congress returns from its current recess in mid-October.

Stay tuned to TCPAWorld on that score.


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