The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to implement rules required by the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, S. 30, Pub. L. 111-331 (Dec. 22, 2010) (Act). The Act amends Section 227 of the Communications Act of 1934, known as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), to prohibit manipulation of caller identification information with the intent to defraud, cause harm or wrongfully obtain anything of value (a practice often called caller ID “spoofing”). See Alert dated December 16, 2010. The Act requires the FCC to adopt implementing regulations within six months of enactment.

    The FCC proposes to (i) add a section to its current rules governing Calling Party Number (CPN) services (47 C.F.R. §§ 64.1601 et seq.) to address caller ID spoofing and (ii) enhance its forfeiture rules (47 C.F.R. § 1.80) to provide for the penalties prescribed by the Act. The proposed rules also include new definitions.

    In connection with the proposal, the FCC seeks comment on a number of specific questions, including, for example:

    • Whether the proposed prohibition on causing any caller ID service to transmit or display “misleading or inaccurate” caller identification information with the ‘‘intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value” provides sufficiently clear guidance about what actions are prohibited.
    • Whether exemptions may be needed to avoid stifling innovative new services such as call back services or services that involve manipulation of area codes or location (such as pick-your-own-area-code services that enable customers to select phone numbers that are not geographically associated with their location, and thus are potentially misleading with respect to the “origination of” calls by such persons).

    The Act also requires the FCC to issue a report to Congress within six months of the law’s enactment on whether additional legislation is necessary to prohibit the provisions of inaccurate caller ID information in technologies that are successor or replacement technologies to telecommunications services or IP-enabled voice services. Accordingly, the FCC seeks comment on this issue.

    Comments are due on or before April 18, 2011.

    Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about the Act, the NPRM or compliance with current federal or state caller ID laws.

    • Judy Scheiderer