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What are the provisions of the TRACED Act?

The TRACED Act implements a number of new regulations on robocalls, primarily by way of instructions to the FCC and other federal agencies and departments. Among the main provisions of the TRACED Act are the following:

Stopping Robocalls
The Act directs the FCC to take final action on its June 2019 Declaratory Ruling on Advanced Methods To Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls. It directs the commission to implement these rules “with transparency and effective redress options for both… consumers; and… callers.”

Service providers are required to implement SHAKEN/STIR—an acronym for Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) and the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR)—call authentication protocols. The protocol digitally validates a phone call as it passes through the complex web of telecom networks, allowing phone providers to verify that the call is actually coming from whoever appears to be placing the call.

Monetary Penalties
The FCC is authorized to assess penalties of up to $10,000 per call for violation with intent.

Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for a general violation is one year while the statute of limitations for violation with intent is four years.

Interagency Task Force
The FCC is required to convene an interagency task force to study government prosecution of robocall violations. The other agencies included in the task force are the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Commerce (DOC), Department of State (DOS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and state attorneys general.

Annual Reports to Congress
The FCC is required to provide an annual report to Congress on its robocall enforcement efforts. Additionally, the FCC and FTC are required to annually report to Congress on “Robocalls and Transmission of Misleading or Inaccurate Caller Identification Information”—suggesting that Congress has considered the possibility of good faith, law abiding callers being mistakenly affected by call-blocking technology. Many of the other sections of the Act also require reporting on the progress in implementing the various provisions.

Protections from Spoofed Calls
The Act instructs the FCC to enact a rulemaking to “help protect a subscriber from receiving unwanted calls or text messages from a caller using an unauthenticated number.”

Report on Reassigned Number Database
Within a year of the date of enactment, the FCC must give a report to Congress on its progress in implementing its proposed official database of reassigned phone numbers. This report must also be made available to the public on the FCC website.

Protection from One-Ring Scams
The FCC is required to “initiate a proceeding to protect called parties from one-ring scams.” The FCC is required to coordinate with the FTC and state-level officials on these efforts.

Coordination with AG on Certain Robocall Violations
The FCC is required to provide evidence to the Attorney General in circumstances where it “obtains evidence that suggest a willful, knowing, and repeated robocall violation with an intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongly obtain anything of value.” This suggests the possibility of criminal enforcement of robocall violations.

Eliminating Warnings for Robocall Violations
The act eliminates the FCC's existing practice of issuing warnings to individuals and companies who are violating robocall regulations. The FCC can now levy fines for those violations without ever warning the alleged violators.