The commissioners from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) appeared for a congressional oversight hearing today. The majority of the hearing revolved around net neutrality and the race to 5G, with the first (and very brief) mention of robocalls about an hour and a half into the hearing. As of hour two and a half, there was virtually no mention of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by the Senators; Chairman Pai mentioned it only briefly.
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) first raised the robocall issue, commenting that robocalls continue to be a concern that is "driving people crazy." Sen. Markey asked the FCC’s Chairman Ajit Pai how the Commission intends to proceed to put protections in place.
Chairman Pai stated that the FCC is taking a two-pronged approach to deal with the robocall issue: regulation and enforcement. He briefly elaborated on the second prong, stating that the FCC is the number one consumer protection authority on the issue and has issued fines. Chairman Pai also stated that the FCC issued a public notice after the D.C. Circuit’s decision and is taking public input on how to proceed. insideARM previously wrote about the request for input.
Later in the hearing, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) brought up a piece of legislation he introduced titled Repeated Objectionable Bothering of Consumers on Phones Act (ROBOCOP Act), which addresses the issue of robocalls. Sen. Blumenthal sought the commission’s support of the act. Commissioner Rosenworcel stated her support; the other commissioners agreed to review the Act.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) asked whether the robocall issue was the same or different than the call spoofing issue. Chairman Pai confirmed that spoofing is indeed one of the most insideous parts of robocalling.
At the time this article was published, there were no other mentions of these issues.
The FCC has certainly had a busy year, as was evident in this hearing. Previously, insideARM published articles about letters sent to Chairman Pai by a group of Democratic and a group of Republican senators. While issues related to the TCPA and robocalls is a focal point for the ARM industry, they are only some of many issues that the FCC is addressing. It is unfortunate that Chairman Pai did not comment further on the regulation prong of the issue.