President Trump signs TRACED Act into law to combat robocalls

Francis Lanzano Contributor
President Trump signs TRACED Act into law to combat robocalls
Read Time: approx. 2:01

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🎯 Tag This: Believe it or not, 2019 ended with a bit of bipartisanship. On the last day of the decade, President Donald Trump signed a law aimed at tackling the plague of illegal robocalls impacting millions of Americans every day.

Background: According to Fierce Wireless, “the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate each passed the TRACED (Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence) Act [last] month. It gives the Federal Communications Commission greater enforcement authority against illegal robocallers, and requires voice service providers to implement call authentication technology.”

🚩 Flag This: One of the biggest changes included in the legislation is the increased fines that robocallers will face. Instead of $1,500 offenders will now face as much as $10,000 per call. Not only that, but phone companies will be on the hook for developing new technology known as “STIR/SHAKEN” to verify legitimate calls in an effort to block the fraudulent ones.

By the numbers: According to Robocall Index, there were 4.6 billion robocalls placed in December 2019. That math breaks down to 147.3 million a day, 6.1 million per hour, 1,700 per second, and means that, on average, an American citizen received close to 14 calls last month.

So what are both sides saying? In general, this is being hailed as a great step forward by both right and left-leaning outlets. If there is any difference in the reporting it’s illuminated on the emphasis the outlet is putting on the party responsible for moving the legislation forward. Here are a few important snippets:

  • From the right: Christopher Carbone of Fox News leads with the headline, “Maximum robocall fine is $10,000 under a law signed by Trump” giving credit to the President for putting the final nail in the coffin of the legislation. Carbone adds that “some carriers have already been deploying the STIR/SHAKEN technology. The hope is that, eventually, carriers will be able to verify calls across networks so that consumers no longer have to deal with the scourge of robocalls.”
  • On the left: Libby Cathey of ABC News writes that “another key takeaway from the new legislation is that it allows the FCC four years to intervene and collect fines after an illegal robocall takes place instead of only one, as with previous legislation. The additional time may prove helpful.”
  • From the Center: Sarah Krouse of the Wall Street Journal noted back in March that “the FCC collected only 0.003 percent of the fines it imposed between 2015 and early 2019.”

That being said, while the TRACED act is being welcomed across the political spectrum, it may take time to see real change and resulting penalties.