So as all of you at TCPA world already know, we have very big news from the FCC from the order that was just released. Now, the Czar already broke down the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking portion to this. So, I’m going to dig into the Report and Order.
The FCC is now requiring carriers to block texts “that purport to be from number on a reasonable Do Not Originate (DNO) list…” This includes “invalid, unallocated, or unused NANP numbers, and numbers for which the subscriber to the number has requested that texts purporting to originate from that number be blocked.”
They are justifying this rule in short by saying that “no reasonable consumer” would ever want to receive such texts because they are very likely to be illegal, and with the amount of scam out there, they argued that waiting for targeted action was not going to cut it. Further, while on one hand praising the providers for their efforts, they say they do not believe that they would “divert significant resources from other anti-spam initiatives.”
They go on however to list reasons why this action is appropriate:
- the texts from such numbers are likely to be illegal;
- illegal text messages can have links to malware, a problem that voice calls do not have;
- the volume of unwanted and illegal text messages is increasing, particularly since we adopted measures to block such voice calls;
- consumers expect to receive texts from unfamiliar numbers, e.g., as appointment reminders and for double factor authentication, and therefore are more likely to open such messages even when they do not recognize the sending party; and
- our approach provides benefits to consumers while imposing minimal burden on mobile wireless providers.
While we do not want anyone to fall victim to fraud or any other illegal activity, this is going to be highly impactful to those who are mistakenly put on this “reasonable DNO list” and to the lead generation industry as a whole!
Now, to mitigate that problem they are further requiring the carriers to “maintain a single point of contact” for those mistakenly blocked. This will work similarly to what is now in place for blocked calls.
What is interesting is that they consider this action as taken in response to the increasing complaints. Because if one law does not stop these activities, certainly piling on regulation on top of regulation is the answer.
Anyway, they also deem this new rule as a “baseline of protection” and a “targeted first step.” So, for those of you who think this is not THAT big of a deal, the FCC is telling you that this is just the beginning.
At this time, the FCC has declined to implement the following rules:
- text blocking notifications;
- enact rules regarding safeguarding against blocking of texts to 911 and other emergency numbers based on the record;
- adopt standards to ensure competitively neutral and content neutral grounds for blocking; and
- adopt caller ID authentication requirements for text messages.
As always, we will keep you posted on the latest developments here.