Senate backs bill to stem flood of robocalls plaguing cellphones |
Politics Election

Senate backs bill to stem flood of robocalls plaguing cellphones

A call log displayed via an AT&T app on a cellphone in Orlando, Fla. The app helps locate and block fraudulent calls, although some robocalls do get through. The Senate has passed a bill that aims to combat the illegal robocalls torturing Americans. The Traced Act on Thursday, May 23, 2019, passed 97-1. It’s not clear what will happen in the House, where the Democrats in charge have made several anti-robocall proposals.

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers are fed up with the barrage of scam and nuisance calls plaguing them and their constituents and on Thursday, the Senate passed a bipartisan measure to combat robocalls.

Senators voted, 97-1, to pass a bill designed to authenticate and block robocalls and enforce penalties on scammers who use automated equipment to pump phones full of bogus calls. It’s not clear what will happen in the House, where Democrats in charge have their own anti-robocall proposals.

South Dakota Republican John Thune teamed up with Massachusetts Democrat Edward J. Markey to sponsor the measure, which would ramp up civil penalties to $10,000 per call and give law enforcement tools to pursue robocallers.

“Illegal robocalls, I think we can all agree, are a major nuisance,” Thune said. “Scammers use these calls to successfully pray on vulnerable populations like elderly Americans who are sometimes less technologically savvy.”

In recent years technological advances have allowed robocallers to target thousands of phones with minimal effort, which some advocates say has rendered the Do Not Call Registry established in 2003 ineffective.

“Perhaps the most important part of the TRACED Act is that law enforcement will now join the battle,” said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

The measure would bring together the FCC, Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and departments of Justice, Commerce, State, Homeland Security and other relevant federal agencies, state attorneys general, and other non-federal entities to report to Congress on how to improve deterrence and criminal prosecution of robocall scams at the federal and state level.

Categories: News | Politics Election
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.