There is some robocall fighting legislation on the horizon. The Pallone-Thune TRACED has made its way through Congress, having been approved by the House and now by the Senate. This is the first significant anti-robocall law that we’ve seen in decades and having received nearly 60 billion robocalls in 2019, it’s safe to say that US consumers are excited for this bill to become law.
Like every congressional bill, the act is somewhat complicated, leaving many wondering what is the TRACED act? The gist is really simple: it will become harder for bad guys to spoof phone numbers when they call, and the government will have more tools to go after the bad guys.
The key points of the TRACED legislation are:
- Carriers: The carriers must move toward quickly implementing STIR/SHAKEN, which is effectively authenticated caller ID. They have 12 months to move forward voluntarily, and after 18 months they have to make STIR/SHAKEN changes live (with some exceptions due to technological limitations).
- Penalties: The statute of limitations gets longer for the government to go after the bad guys and the penalties increase for violations.
- Future: The FCC has to do a series of studies and rule-makings to try to improve regulations to lessen robocalls in the future.
So, once the bill is signed, will robocalls go away?
It is simply too easy, too cheap, and too lucrative to make millions of robocalls.
The bad guys will find alternatives to spoofing, like simply getting thousands or tens of thousands of legitimate numbers or even hundreds of thousands of numbers, and using those to make calls so their phone numbers will be authenticated and pass the carriers’ tests to ring consumers’ phones. Robocall scammers will work more diligently to hide their money or do calls from overseas, where it is far harder to catch them and enforce penalties.
If nothing else, the bombardment of robocalls have taught us that scammers are creative, so they will likely find clever ways to get around these rules.
But, the bill is still valuable.
If it becomes law, TRACED will make it more difficult and dangerous for the robocallers, which should lead ultimately to fewer robocalls. YouMail CEO Alex Quilici says to
“Think of it like a speed bump slowing traffic down, but not a wall where everyone has to turn around.”
In fact, the more authenticated phone numbers make calls, the better our YouMail service works, since our audio fingerprinting technology needs only one call to see if a number is misbehaving.
We are looking forward to it becoming law!