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USA: TRACED Act "makes clear that businesses should expect an increase in enforcement actions"

The White House announced, on 30 December 2019, that the U.S. President, Donald J. Trump, had signed, on the same day, the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act ('the TRACED Act') into law.

Filip_Krstic / Essentials collection / istockphoto.com

In particular, the White House noted that this legislation will provide American consumers with considerable protection against unsolicited robocalls by updating laws and regulations to stiffen penalties, increase transparency, and enhance government collaboration to stop unwanted solicitation.

Christine M. Reilly and Madelaine A. Newcomb, Partner and Attorney respectively, at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP told OneTrust DataGuidance, "The [TRACED Act] makes clear that businesses should expect an increase in enforcement actions and harsher punishments for violators. Businesses should keep apprised of these enforcement actions and expect the Federal Communications Commission ('FCC') to enact additional rules to discourage violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 ('TCPA')."

Furthermore, the TRACED Act notes that, no later than 12 months after the date of its enactment, the FCC shall submit to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation an implementation report which should include, among other things, an analysis of the extent to which providers of voice service have implemented the call authentication frameworks described in the TRACED Act, and an assessment of the efficacy of such frameworks in addressing all aspects of call authentication.

Businesses should keep apprised of these enforcement actions and expect the FCC to enact additional rules to discourage violations of the TCPA.

Newcomb and Reilly outlined, "[The TRACED Act]  requires the FCC to submit evidence to the U.S. Department of Justice of wilful, knowing, and repeated violations with an intent to defraud, cause harm or wrongfully obtain anything of value instructs the FCC to require voice service providers to implement a call authentication framework known as the "secure telephone identity re-visited and signature-based handling of asserted information using tokens standards", or "STIR/SHAKEN", to identify spoofed calls [and] to develop further regulations to protect consumers from unwanted robocalls."

In addition, the TRACED Act notes that, no later than one year after the date of its enactment, and consistent with the call authentication frameworks, the FCC should initiate a rulemaking to help protect consumers from receiving unwanted calls or text messages from a caller using an unauthenticated number. Moreover, no later than one year after the enactment of the TRACED Act, the FCC should take a final agency action to ensure robocall blocking services provided on an opt-out basis are adopted transparently and effectively and with no additional charge to consumers and callers.

Newcomb and Reilly highlighted, "The [TRACED Act] amends the TCPA by allowing to bring enforcement actions the first time a business violates the law, removing a prior requirement that the FCC first issue a citation notifying a business of the violation. [In addition, the TRACED Act] increases the statute of limitations under the TCPA to four years for violations with intent [and] penalties under the TCPA for violations with intent up to $10,000 per call."

Mona Benaissa Privacy Analyst