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U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D. N.Y.) has introduced a bill that would criminalize the act of knowingly initiating a commercial robocall without the prior express written consent of the recipient.
The bill, S. 1681, defines a “commercial robocall” as a telephone call made for the purpose soliciting a purchase, rental, enrollment or investment in goods or services using an “automatic telephone dialing system” or an artificial or prerecorded voice.
“Automatic telephone dialing system” has the meaning given in Sec. 227(a) of the Communications Act of 1934. “Prior exempt written consent” is defined in a manner similar to the TCPA.
Exempted are calls made for emergency purposes; made on behalf of a tax-exempt, non-profit organization; or that deliver a health care message on behalf of a “covered entity or business associate” as defined in 45 CFR 160.103.
Violators would be subject to fines of up to $20,000 per violation and imprisonment for up to 10 years.
Obviously, this is only a proposed legislation; we don’t know if there is an appetite in the U.S. legislature to pass this type of bill. It is significant, however, there the criminalization of these types of violations is even being considered.
If you have any questions, please contact Karen Lederer or Christina Bost Seaton.
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