The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now approved “two safe harbors from liability for the unintended or inadvertent blocking of wanted calls, thus eliminating a concern that kept some companies from implementing robust robocall blocking efforts.”(https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-365564A1.pdf).
The two safe harbors “are meant to provide further assurance to phone companies and allow them to strengthen their efforts in the battle against illegal and unwanted robocalls.” The FCC’s decision further implements provisions of the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act which became law last December.
The first safe harbor will protect phone companies that “use reasonable analytics, including caller ID authentication information, to identify and block illegal or unwanted calls from liability.”
The second safe harbor “protects providers that block call traffic from bad actor upstream voice service providers that pass illegal or unwanted calls along to other providers, when those upstream providers have been notified but fail to take action to stop these calls.”
TCPAWorld have previously analyzed this safe harbor proposal when it originally was released.(https://tcpaworld.com/2020/06/29/will-your-calls-connect-fcc-issues-important-ruling-allowing-callers-to-complain-about-blocked-calls-but-grants-additional-safeharbors-to-carriers/)
The decision – approved unanimously by the five FCC commissioners – also seeks comment on further rule changes to “protect consumers from robocalls and better inform them about provider blocking efforts.” A Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking included in the decision seeks comment on (a) “whether to obligate phone companies to better police their networks against illegal calls, and … require them to provide information about blocked calls to consumers for free” and (b) “notification and effective redress mechanisms for callers when their calls are blocked, and on whether measures are necessary to address the mislabeling of calls.”
The text of the FCC’s order is available at https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-20-96A1.pdf.
TCPAWorld will be tracking the evolution of the notification and redress mechanism for callers who assert that their legitimate calls are being improperly blocked.