The Senate voted 97-1 Thursday, May 23 in favor of a bill that would give Federal regulators more tools to combat perpetrators of fraudulent robocall scams.

The bill – the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act (S. 151) – was introduced in January by Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Edward Markey, D., Mass.  The measure would increase civil penalties for robocall rule violators, give regulators more time to track down violators, promotion adoption of phone call identification and blocking technologies, and bring “relevant federal agencies and state attorneys general together to address impediments to criminal prosecution of robocallers who intentionally flout laws,” the senators said earlier this year.

The legislation would also broaden the authority of the Federal Communications Commission to levy fines of up to $10,000 per call on people who “intentionally flout telemarketing restrictions,” and would expand to three years – one year currently – the window the FCC has to catch violators.

A companion bill in the House, H.R. 1602, is one of several pieces of robocall legislation that have gotten attention from the House Energy and Commerce Committee in recent weeks.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.