On November 20, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai issued a press release proposing a reassigned number database and reaffirming the FCC’s fight against robocalls.
According to the release, the reassigned number database “would help legitimate callers know whether telephone numbers have been reassigned to somebody else before calling those numbers so they can direct their calls to parties who asked for them rather than individuals who have subsequently obtained those reassigned numbers.”
The FCC’s top priority remains combatting robocalls, according to Chairman Pai. Chairman Pai also adds that preventing robotexts is also an issue that needs to be addressed.
Ultimately, the release suggests that Chairman Pai wants to establish new rules regarding the reassigned number database and create a Declaratory Ruling on robotexts. The next FCC Open Commission Meeting will be held on December 12, 2018, where these items will be addressed.
Legitimate players in the industry want to ensure that they are calling the right party. The reassigned number database, depending on how it is created and deployed, could help companies ensure they are using their time and efforts to contact the correct person. However, without seeing how the database looks and functions, it is difficult to tell what kind of a compliance and operational burden it will place on companies.
While all of this is going on, the country continues to wait for long-needed clarity on the TCPA. A group of Republican senators submitted a letter to Chairman Pai back in August addressing the need for TCPA clarification. Chairman Pai responded in September saying that he agrees. This all occurred prior to the Ninth Circuit taking a divisive position on the definition of an ATDS in Marks v. Crunch San Diego, LLC. Since yesterday’s press release is silent as to TCPA clarification, it sounds like it may not be addressed at the next Open Commission Meeting, so we continue waiting.