Title: Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act
Vote to pass with amendment a bill that prohibits certain robocalls.
Specifies that any person the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) determines to have intentionally violated this act is liable to the United States for a forfeiture penalty of up to $10,000 (Sec. 3).
Requires the FCC to submit to Congress and make publicly available on its website, a report on the status of the efforts made in the Matter of Advanced Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls, no later than 1 year after this bill’s date of enactment (Sec. 9).
Requires the FCC to take a final agency action to ensure the robocall blocking services provided on an opt-out or opt-in basis pursuant to the FCC’s declaratory ruling in the matter of Advanced Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls, (Sec. 10):
Are provided with transparency and effective redress options for both consumers and callers;
Are provided with no additional line item charge to consumers and no additional charge to callers for resolving complaints related to erroneously blocked calls; and
Make all reasonable efforts to avoid blocking emergency public safety calls.
Specifies that the report on the Matter of Advanced Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls must describe the following (Sec. 9):
The establishment of a database of telephone numbers that have been disconnected, with comprehensive and timely information to enable such person to avoid making calls without the prior express consent of the called party because the number called has been reassigned;
That a person who wishes to use any safe harbor with respect to making calls, must demonstrate that, before making the call, the person appropriately checked the most recent update of the database and the database reported that the number had not been disconnected; and
That if the person makes the demonstration described in the above sub-highlight, the person will be shielded from liability under the Communications Act, should the database return be an inaccurate result.
Requires the FCC, after consultating the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to submit a report to Congress regarding enforcement by the FCC of robocalls and the transmission of misleading or inaccurate caller identification information, no later than 1 year after this bill’s date of enactment and every year thereafter (Sec. 3).
Requires the above-mentioned report to include the following information (Sec. 3):
The number of complaints received by the FCC during each of the 5 preceding calendar years for each of the following categories:
Complaints alleging that a consumer received a call in violation of this act;
Complaints alleging that a consumer received a call in violation of the standards; and
Complaints alleging that a consumer received a call in connection with which misleading or inaccurate caller identification information was transmitted in violation of this act;
The number of citations issued by the FCC during the preceding calendar year, and details that include any proposed forfeiture amount;
The number of notices of apparent liability issued by the FCC during the preceding calendar year for enforcing provisions of this act;
The number of final orders imposing forfeiture penalties issued pursuant to this act during the preceding calendar year for enforcing provisions of this act;
The number of forfeiture penalties or criminal fines collected for violations of this act during the preceding calendar year;
Proposals for reducing the number of calls made in violation of this act; and
An analysis of the contribution by providers of interconnected voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service and non-interconnected VoIP service, that discount high-volume, unlawful, short-duration calls to the total number of calls made in violation of this act, and recommendations on how to address and decrease the total number of calls made in violation of this act.
Requires the Attorney General, in consultation with the Chairman of the FCC, to convene an interagency working group to study government prosecution of violations of the Communications Act of 1934 (Sec. 5).
Requires the interagency working group to (Sec. 5):
Determine whether, and if so how, any federal laws, regulations, policies, and practices, or budgetary or jurisdictional constraints inhibit the prosecution of such violations;
Identify existing and potential federal policies and programs that encourage and improve coordination among federal departments and agencies and states, and between states, in the prevention and prosecution of such violations;
Identify existing and potential international policies and programs that encourage and improve coordination between countries in the prevention and prosecution of such violations; and
The benefit and potential sources of additional resources for the Federal prevention and prosecution of criminal violations;
Whether to establish memoranda of understanding regarding the prevention and prosecution of such violations between:
The states and the Federal government; and
The Federal government and a foreign government;
Whether to establish a process to allow states to request Federal subpoenas from the FCC;
Whether extending civil enforcement authority to the states would assist in the successful prevention and prosecution of such violations;
Whether increased forfeiture and imprisonment penalties are appropriate, such as extending imprisonment for such a violation to a term longer than 2 years;
Whether regulation of any entity that enters into a business arrangement with a common carrier regulated under title II of the Communications Act of 1934 for the specific purpose of carrying, routing, or transmitting a call that constitutes such a violation, would assist in the successful prevention and prosecution of such violations; and
The extent to which, if any, Department of Justice policies to pursue the prosecution of violations causing economic harm, physical danger, or erosion of an inhabitant’s peace of mind and sense of security inhibit the prevention or prosecution of such violations.
Requires the FCC to, no later than 18 months after this bill’s date of enactment (Sec. 4):
Require a provider of voice service to implement the STIR/SHAKEN authentication framework in the internet protocols networks; and
Require a provider of voice service to take reasonable measures to implement an effective call-authentication framework in the non-internet protocols networks.
Defines the “STIR/SHAKEN authentication framework” as the secure telephone identity revisited and signature-based handling of asserted information using tokens standards proposed by the information and communications technology industry (Sec. 4).
Defines “voice service” as any service that is interconnected with the public switched telephone network and that furnished voice communications to an end-user using resources from the North American Numbering Plan or any successor adopted by the FCC, and includes transmissions from a telephone facsimile machine, or computer (Sec. 4).
Requires the FCC to prohibit providers of voice service from adding any additional line item charges to consumers or small business consumer subscribers for the effective call-authentication technology (Sec. 4).
Requires the FCC to initiate a proceeding to protect called parties from one-call ring scams, no later than 120 days after this bill’s date of enactment, and consider how the FCC can (Sec. 12):
Work with federal and state law enforcement agencies to address one-ring scams;
Work with the governments of foreign countries to address one-ring scams;
In consultation with the FTC, better educate consumers about how to avoid one-ring scams;
Incentivize voice service providers to stop calls made to perpetrate one-ring scams from being received by called parties;
Work with entities that provide call-blocking services to address one-ring scams; and
Establish obligations on international gateway providers that are the first point of entry for these calls in the US, including potential requirements that such providers verify with the foreign operator the nature or purpose of calls before initiating service.
Defines “one ring scam” as a scam in which a caller makes a call and allows the call to ring the called party for a short duration in order to prompt the called party to return the call, thereby subjecting the called party to charges (Sec. 12).
Specifies that if the Chief of the Enforcement Bureau of the FCC obtains evidence that suggests a willful, knowing, and repeated robocall violation with an intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value, the Chief must provide such evidence to the Attorney General (Sec. 11).
Requires the FCC to establish an advisory committee known as the “Hospital Robocall Protection Group,” no later than 180 days after this bill’s date of enactment, to issue best practices regarding the following (Sec. 14):
How voice service providers can better communicate unlawful robocalls made to hospitals;
How hospitals can better protect themselves from such calls, including by using unlawful robocall mitigation techniques; and
How the federal and state governments can help combat such calls.