FCC Proposes Database for Reassigned Numbers to Reduce Unwanted Calls

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As part of its ongoing efforts to combat illegal robocalls, the FCC seeks comment on ways to reduce calls placed by businesses to numbers no longer assigned to the consumer who consented to receive those calls. The FCC proposes that databases with reassigned number information be made available to businesses. Specifically, the FCC seeks comment on three alternatives: to require service providers to report reassigned number information to an FCC-designated database; to report that information to commercial data aggregators; or to allow service providers to voluntarily report that information to commercial data aggregators. The FCC also requests comment on information that should be included in the database and whether it should adopt a safe harbor provision that protects businesses from liability under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act if the caller uses a reassigned number database. Recently, among other issues, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected as “unreasonable” provisions from a 2015 FCC robocalling order holding callers liable for using an autodialer to call a reassigned number for which they previously received consent from a subscriber, allowing only for one call after the reassignment, regardless of whether the caller knows about the reassignment.

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