In a comment letter filed today, ABA and other trade groups urged the Federal Communications Commission to protect lawful calls placed by legitimate businesses from telephone companies’ call-blocking programs. The letter came as the FCC seeks to encourage the implementation of a framework for authenticating calls—called “SHAKEN/STIR”—by providing a safe harbor from liability for telephone companies that block calls that are not authenticated under the framework.
The groups reiterated previous concerns that legitimate calls are currently being incorrectly labeled as spam or nuisance and may be blocked. To ensure legitimate calls are not blocked, the trade groups urged the FCC to prohibit telephone companies from blocking “unsigned” calls under the SHAKEN/STIR framework until that framework is fully implemented. Once the framework has been implemented, the FCC should permit telephone companies to block only calls that are not authenticated or, if authenticated, those calls that the telephone company has determined, with a high degree of certainty, are illegal calls.
The trade groups also urged the FCC to expand its proposed “Critical Calls List” of numbers from which outbound calls may not be blocked to include numbers used to place fraud alerts, data breach notifications, remediation messages, electric service notifications, product recall notices, prescription notices, and mortgage servicing calls required by Federal or State law.