FCC Adopts Rules Requiring All Users of Autodialing and Text-Messaging Equipment to Register With and Scrub Against New Public Service Answering Point Do-Not-Call Registry

by Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Contact

[author: Ronald G. London]

On Oct. 17, 2012, the FCC adopted a Report & Order (R&O) creating a new do-not-call registry for phone numbers assigned to public safety answering points (PSAPs), and requiring all “operators of automatic dialing or robocall equipment” to register with the new registry and avoid calling numbers on the list. The new FCC rules reach virtually all commercial telemarketing, voice-broadcasting and text-messaging, all of which typically rely on automated equipment, as well as, potentially, schools, charities, employers, and anyone else who communicates via automated voice calls (live or prerecorded) or through en masse text messaging.

The new rules, which seek to prevent automated non-emergency calls to PSAP facilities (typically 911 call centers) that receive and route calls to emergency services, will not take effect until 6 months after the FCC announces a registry administrator has been chosen and that the registry is operational, informs PSAPs how and when to upload phone numbers, and instructs those required to access the registry how and when to begin doing so. But once the rules take effect, anyone using autodialing equipment must register and avoid calling numbers on the registry by downloading and scrubbing against listings that are updated at least once every 31 days. The rules also impose certification, nondisclosure, and record-keeping requirements, as well as an enforcement regime with substantial fines for violations.

The PSAP Do-Not-Call Registry R&O inserts a new § 64.1202 into the FCC rules, governing the “Public Safety Answering Point Do-Not-Call Registry” (PSAP DNCR), in order to implement § 6507 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which mandated the registry’s creation. The rule regulates “operators of automatic dialing or robocall equipment,” defined as any entity that delivers voice calls (prerecorded or live) or text messages using “automatic telephone dialing systems.” Such systems have for PSAP DNCR purposes the same definition that the FCC uses for “autodialers” in its rules governing telephone solicitation, telemarketing, and delivery of calls to cell phones – i.e., any equipment with the capacity to store or produce phone numbers to be called using a random or sequential number generator, and to dial such numbers.

This definition covers most if not all automated telephonic delivery systems, including predictive dialers, and text message-dissemination, used for commercial and other purposes. In addition, operators can include schools, charities, and others who until now might have faced minimal or even no regulatory requirements relating to their use of autodialers/text-messaging.

Under the new rule, PSAPs will be able to place on the PSAP DNCR any phone number(s) they deem appropriate, as long as they are associated with emergency services and/or public safety agencies. Once the PSAP DNCR is up and running, all covered autodialing/robocall “operators” are prohibited from dialing or texting phone numbers on the registry for any non-emergency purpose.

To use the PSAP DNCR, covered operators will have to register by providing various contact information, as well as all outbound phone numbers used for autodialing, and updates to this information must be provided within 30 days of any change. Thereafter, registered autodialer/robocall operators must avoid calling or texting any number on the PSAP DNCR–unless the call/text is for emergency purposes–by using a version of the PSAP DNCR obtained no more than 31 days prior to the date any call is made, and they must maintain records documenting their compliance. Operators also are prohibited from selling, renting, leasing, purchasing or using PSAP DNCR data for any purpose other than to comply with these requirements, and must certify, under penalty of law, each time the registry is accessed, that they are doing so solely to prevent autodialed calls to numbers on the registry.

Again, compliance will not be required until the new PSAP DNCR is up and operational and all affected parties are instructed how to use it, the FCC issues a public notice announcing as much, and a 6-month lead-time for implementation is provided. But once the rules take effect, there are significant penalties for violations. Fines for using an autodialer to contact (or text) a number on the PSAP DNCR for non-emergency purposes, “shall be not less than $10,000 per call” and may range as high as $100,000 per call, depending on whether a violation was negligent, grossly negligent, reckless, or willful, and on whether the violation was a first or subsequent offense. Fines for disclosing or disseminating phone numbers on the PSAP DNCR without authorization “shall be not less than $100,000 per incident nor more than $1,000,000,” using the same factors as listed above to determine degree of culpability and thus severity of penalty.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Davis Wright Tremaine LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Contact
more
less

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.