Call blocking rulemaking needed to address TRACED Act

June 2, 2020

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should promptly initiate a rulemaking addressing TRACED Act provisions regarding blocking, safe harbors and a redress mechanism for erroneously blocked legitimate callers. The TRACED Act was signed into law in December 2019 to provide regulators resources to combat abusive robocalls.

CUNA and other financial trades filed comments in response to a proposal implementing the STIR/SHAKEN call authentication framework, as well as parts of the TRACED Act.

“As we have previously stressed “[w]hen outbound calling numbers used by legitimate businesses are mislabeled, or calls from those numbers are blocked, consumers are harmed because they may not receive lawful calls affecting their health, safety, or financial well-being,’” the comments read.

CUNA notes specific examples of erroneous call-blocking cited by other commenters on the proposal, including calls and messages from healthcare providers, security services and food delivery.

“These calls are being mislabeled because, as the Joint Trades have previously pointed out, they share the same characteristics, such as high volume and short call duration, that analytics companies use as indicia of illegal or unwanted robocalls,” the comments read.

CUNA also notes the implementation of SITR/SHAKEN and related efforts to combat robocalls must not adversely affect the delivery of important, time-sensitive calls. STIR/SHAKEN is a technology standard that uses digital certificates to verify that the calling number is accurate and has not been spoofed.