Today, February 4, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), following on the heels of a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warning, solicited the assistance of gateway carriers to help “track down the originators of illegal foreign spoofed robocalls.”

Rosemary Harold, the Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, sent letters to seven gateway service providers: All Access, Globex, Piratel, Talkie, Telcast, ThinQ and Third Base. As TCPAWorld previously reported, last week, the FTC announced that it had written 19 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers, warning that “assisting and facilitating illegal telemarketing robocalling is against the law.”

The FCC letters went to U.S.-based voice service providers that “accept foreign traffic and terminate it to U.S. consumers.” They serve as “gateways…for robocalls that originate overseas.” FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief  Harold seeks information from each company about “business practices regarding the foreign traffic that your company carries.” For example, the Bureau wants to know “what procedure does [each] employ  to ensure that the Caller ID information associated with foreign call traffic has not been unlawfully spoofed?” Further, “have you taken any actions in the last six months to either terminate or restrict foreign traffic that you suspected to be illegal?”

Responses are due by February 17.

In keeping with these trace back initiatives, FCC Chairman Pai has circulated to his fellow Commissioners proposed new rules that would “establish a registration process for selecting a consortium to conduct private-led efforts to trace back the origin of suspected unlawful robocalls.” This proposal would implement a provision in the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act, which became law at the very end of last year.

This last initiative signals the start of a string of requirements imposed on the FCC by that new statute. TCPAWorld previously laid them out here.



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