FCC Releases Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Seeking Comment on Implementation of Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009


On March 9, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) seeking public input on proposed rules to implement the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 (“Act”), signed into law on December 22, 2010.  The Act aims to prevent the manipulation or “spoofing” of caller ID information in ways that harm consumers or threaten public safety.  Caller ID spoofers have in the past manipulated caller ID information to make it appear they are calling from a consumers’ bank or credit card company in an attempt to trick those consumers into releasing account or other personal information.  Other caller ID spoofers have falsified caller ID information when making emergency calls to law enforcement agencies, in order to elicit a response from Special Weapons and Tactics (“SWAT”) teams.

The FCC has six months to adopt rules that implement the directives of the Act.   The proposed rules would prohibit any person or entity in the United States who has the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value from knowingly causing any caller ID service to transmit or display inaccurate or misleading caller ID information.  The Act requires that the adopted rules apply to all telecommunications carriers and providers of “IP-enabled voice services.”  While the Act defines IP-enabled voice service as having the same meaning as the FCC’s definition of Interconnected VoIP services, the FCC is seeking comment on whether it should adopt a broader definition of IP-enabled voice service based on the Department of Justice’s definition of IP-enabled voice service contained in 18 U.S.C. § 1039(h)(4).

The FCC also proposes enforcement rules for violations of the Act, and specifically proposed to clarify that the Enforcement Bureau is not required to first issue a citation prior to issuing a penalty for violations of the Act.  The FCC also proposed to adopt a two-year statute of limitations for taking actions on violations of the Act.

Comment and Reply Comments are due on April 18, 2011 and May 3, 2011, respectively.

Clients with comments or questions regarding this Advisory should contact the attorney responsible for their account.

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