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Acting FCC Chair Rosenworcel Announces Anti-Robocall Agenda

Acting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel

Posted by Chris Alarie on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 14:31

Acting Chair of the Federal Communications Commission Jessica Rosenworcel has announced her first major agenda items relating to the Commission’s ongoing project to regulate robocalls. The actions, as explained in a FCC press release, involve finishing actions from last year and announcing new efforts by the Commission.

The actions themselves include the following:

  • Official FCC approval of the $225 million fine for spoofed robocalls that was first proposed last summer. This is the largest fine in FCC history and stems from more than one billion spoofed robocalls falsely claiming to sell health insurance plans.
  • The delivery of cease-and-desist letters to six voice providers that have consistently violated FCC regulations relating to robocalls.
  • The announcement of the creation of a Robocall Response Team. This new group will consist of “51 FCC staff members across six bureaus and offices tasked with coordinating and implementing the agency’s anti-robocall efforts.”
  • The delivery of letters to the Federal Trace Commission (FTC), Department of Justice (DOJ), and National Association of State Attorneys General regarding new partnerships in robocall regulation efforts. This press release does not mention the law but the TRACED Act mandates this sort of interagency cooperation.

While Rosenworcel has been busy since being elevated from Commissioner to Acting Chair by President Joe Biden in late January, these are her first major comments relating to telemarketing. Enforcement of anti-robocall regulations has been a significant point of emphasis for the FCC in recent years—particularly since the passage of the TRACED Act in late 2019—and these actions give some insight into how the new, Democratic-led commission will handle telemarketing regulations. While Rosenworcel is still just the Acting Chair, she has drawn plaudits from Democratic politicians, increasing the likelihood that President Biden eventually nominates her for the permanent position that was opened up by Ajit Pai’s decision to step down in January.