The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed an update to the Communication Act that expands caller ID spoofing provisions to text messages and calls made over VoIP. The bill was sent to the Senate where it awaits committee action.
Reps. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Joe Barton (R-Texas), and Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) originally co-sponsored the bill, titled the Anti-Spoofing Act of 2014. The bill – HR 3670 — passed the House on a voice vote on September 9.
Building on the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, the bill is designed to “expand and clarify the prohibition on provision of inaccurate caller identification information.” Specifically, the new law would target caller ID spoofing in text messages and in calls made over recently accepted Internet technology like VoIP.
When the bill was introduced in 2013, Rep. Meng noted, “The purpose of caller ID is to know the identity of the person who is calling or texting you, but all too often, then name and number that is displayed is not the actual name and number of the caller or texter. It’s time to finally stop this outrageous and deceitful practice, and our legislation would go a long way toward putting an end to it.”
The Senate referred the bill to its Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. There has been no official action since, and there probably will not be as Congress will be in recess until after the mid-term elections in November. But the bi-partisan bill could see consideration in the lame duck session before a new Congress is sworn in.
Two Senators last week did formally introduce the upper chamber companion bill called the Caller ID Scam Prevention Act. Sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the bill is identical to the one passed by the House.
Caller ID laws are very important for debt collectors, as the volume of calls made by the ARM industry warrants careful treatment of outgoing ID information. It has also come up in court as legal experts weigh whether caller ID information constitutes a communication under the FDCPA.