Home New Bill Would Allow Robo-Calls to Mobile Phones

New Bill Would Allow Robo-Calls to Mobile Phones

A bill proposed in Congress last week sponsored by Representatives Lee Terry and Edolphis Towns aims to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to allow “informational calls to mobile telephones and for other purposes.” Basically, it is a bill that would allow robo-calls from marketers and political campaigns (among other entities) to mobile phones.

Marketers and campaigns still crave phone numbers as the number one target of consumer information. It is not your email address, Twitter handle or Facebook profile. The baseline information for marketers continues to be your phone number and your physical address. That is the closest they can get to you, your mailbox and landline phone. This bill would bring them even closer – straight into your pocket.

Everybody who has ever had a landline phone, which is still most of the U.S. population, has gotten one of these calls. They are at best intrusive, at worst harassing. Especially during campaign season. Like it or not, this is in the future of U.S. citizens.

The act itself is officially called the Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011. The Communications Act of 1934 governs telecommunications, broadcast television and radio. It has been amended several times through the years to adapt to changing technology. This amendment would bridge the gap of current rules allowed for robo-calls to landlines over to the cellular side. Here is the main thrust of the amendment:

Like any amendment to a long-standing bill, a good portion of the actual proposed changes are grammatical in nature. If you have an interest in history or law or are just a giant geek, take a look at the change logs to some of the oldest bills in Congress. They read like the rules implemented by the Modern Language Institute or the Oxford Dictionary. Yet, the changes to Section Two “Definitions” are what the key.

Basically, it identifies who can be called and how by defining a “business relationship” between the company and the individual.

What this is saying is that if you make a purchase from a retail store or online and give them your phone number, they can then “information call” basically whenever they want.

A lot of mobile robo-call legislation currently resides with the states. For instance, I have a Virginia phone number. Right after this story crossed my eyes this morning, I coincidentally then got a robo-call from a marketer. The Informational Call Act of 2011 would take that power of legislation from the states, making the federal law the one that governs robo-calls to mobile phones.

The bill has gone through the introduction stage and is currently awaiting the report of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce before going to vote on the floor.

Outraged? Excited? Ready to write a letter to your congressperson? Let us know in the comments.

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