FCC Adopts Rules Implementing the Truth in Caller ID Act

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Report and Order (Order) on June 22, 2011, implementing the Truth in Caller ID Act (the Act). Enacted on December 22, 2010, the Act is aimed at prohibiting the use of caller ID “spoofing,” which entails the practice of modifying caller ID information by making a call appear to come from a phone number different from the originating phone number for ill intent.

Specifically, the Act prohibits the use of caller ID “spoofing” to facilitate schemes that defraud consumers and threaten public safety through the manipulation of caller ID information. The Act forbids the practice of caller ID spoofing, in connection with any telecommunications service or IP-enabled voice service, which causes any caller identification service to knowingly transmit misleading or inaccurate caller identification information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value. Violations of this rule may be penalized through fines up to $10,000 for each violation, or three times that amount for each day of a continuing violation. Penalties for any continuing violation are capped at $1 million for any single act, or failure to act.

FCC regulations mirror statute by prohibiting caller ID spoofing with malicious intent

The FCC’s primary rule in this proceeding builds upon its current rules governing interstate caller ID and other calling party number (CPN) services. The new caller ID rule closely mirrors the language of the Act, stating that “no person or entity in the United States shall, with intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value, knowingly cause, directly or indirectly, any caller identification service to transmit or display misleading or inaccurate caller identification information.” The new rule addresses both the transmission and display of misleading or inaccurate information to make clear that, even if a carrier or interconnected VoIP provider transmits accurate caller identification information, it would be a violation for a person or entity to knowingly cause, directly or indirectly, a device that displays caller identification information to display inaccurate or misleading information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain something of value.

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