BREAKING NEWS: CONGRESSIONAL TCPA AMENDMENT PROPOSED
Digital Thrive and our General Counsel, Puja Amin, are keeping a close eye on this one as it directly impacts all digital marketers making outbound calls or text that fall within the #TCPA’s definition of an #ATDS. While we understand that text messages are the safest channel under current federal law and dangerous at various state levels, this proposed amendment is a real game changer. The amendment would expand the definition of an ATDS to include a wider variety of devices to automatically dial or text numbers – not solely those using a random or sequential number generator:
It would expressly expand the TCPA to cover text messages;
It would remove the phrase “using a random or sequential number generator” from the definition of ATDS;
It would provide a safe harbor for recycled number calls but only for callers using the FCC’s wrong number database.
As our very own General Counsel reported earlier, the FCC and FTC are back to full strength and have been much more aggressive lately and are keeping a close eye out on digital advertisers.
And a few updates to that end:
The FTC is considering a new Notice of Proposed Rule-making – a new rule applicable to all marketers governed by the TSR -- requires all telemarketers to maintain 5 years’ worth of records – including transactional call logs, evidence of consent and call recordings. This would impose HUGE document retention protocols on marketers.
Meanwhile, the FTC just proposed one of its largest fines of $116M against one man and his 3 companies for illegally making over 9.6M prerecorded voice message calls in violation of the TCPA. Ironically, these prerecorded calls were all a “Public Service Announcement” warning toll free customers about the dangers of illegal robocalls and directed these customers to report robocalls to the FCC and to Dorhser’s company – ChariTel’s website.
The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau and the Industry Traceback group traced the robocalls back to ChariTel.
Additionally, the FTC stated that ChariTel generated profits from the illegal calls as part of a revenue sharing arrangement with its voice service provider -- known as a traffic pumping scheme. According to the FCC, Dorsher and company used these profits to launch denial of service (TDoS) attacks to telecom systems of those he suspected of making illegal robocalls without adequate verification methods to confirm this was so. The FCC noted that TDoS attacks are dangerous and can disrupt emergency services.
As a result, the FCC proposed a $116 million fine.
This should be eye opening for everyone. Digital Thrive is staying on top of these new developments and our General Counsel will be providing a ton of coverage and discussing how Digital Thrive continues to stay compliant in person at the upcoming TCPA Summit next week. Please say hello if you are there!