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116th Congress   }                                        {    REPORT
                                  SENATE                          
1st Session      }                                        {    116-41
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                        


    TELEPHONE ROBOCALL ABUSE CRIMINAL ENFORCEMENT AND DETERRENCE ACT

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                 S. 151
                                 

[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


                  May 21, 2019.--Ordered to be printed
                  
                              _________ 
                                  
                  U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE
 89-010                    WASHINGTON : 2019                     
 
 
                  
                  
                  
       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                     One Hundred Sixteenth Congress
                             first session

                 ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi, Chairman
JOHN THUNE, South Dakota             MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
ROY BLUNT, Missouri                  AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota
TED CRUZ, Texas                      RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Connecticut
DEB FISCHER, Nebraska                BRIAN SCHATZ, Hawaii
JERRY MORAN, Kansas                  EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
DAN SULLIVAN, Alaska                 TOM UDALL, New Mexico
CORY GARDNER, Colorado               GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
MARSHA BLACKBURN, Tennessee          TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia  TAMMY DUCKWORTH, Illinois
MIKE LEE, Utah                       JON TESTER, Montana
RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin               KYRSTEN SINEMA, Arizona
TODD C. YOUNG, Indiana               JACKY ROSEN, Nevada
RICK SCOTT, Florida
                       John Keast, Staff Director
               David Strickland, Minority Staff Director
               
               
               


                                                        Calendar No. 94
                                                        
116th Congress   }                                           {  Report
                               SENATE
 1st Session     }                                           {  116-41

======================================================================



 
    TELEPHONE ROBOCALL ABUSE CRIMINAL ENFORCEMENT AND DETERRENCE ACT

                                _______
                                

                  May 21, 2019.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Thune, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 151]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred (S. 151) to deter criminal robocall 
violations and improve enforcement of section 227(b) of the 
Communications Act of 1934, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment (in the nature of a substitute) and recommends that 
the bill, as amended, do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of S. 151, the Telephone Robocall Abuse 
Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, is to aid the 
American public by helping to reduce illegal and unwanted 
robocalls by improving the ability of the Federal 
Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) and law 
enforcement to impose additional penalties for intentional 
violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The 
bill also improves adoption of technical solutions for blocking 
illegal robocalls, and convenes a Federal interagency working 
group to combat the dramatic rise in such calls.

                          Background and Needs

    Unsolicited robocalls are among the top consumer complaints 
to the FCC, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and many State 
attorneys general.\1\ Although the FCC and FTC are tasked with 
fighting these calls,\2\ available data indicate that robocalls 
are likely to increase and continue to be a major concern for 
consumers.\3\ A large number of these illegal robocalls are 
spoofed calls, which are typically scams.\4\ It is estimated 
that in 2019, nearly 50 percent of all calls to mobile phones 
will be scam robocalls.\5\ Another report estimates that 
robocalls rang Americans' phones almost 5 billion times in 
April 2019--that is close to 2,000 calls per second.\6\ 
Furthermore, this growing trend of unwanted robocalls extends 
to ringless voicemail (also known as direct to voicemail 
calls).\7\ Recent court decisions have found such messages to 
be subject to TCPA.\8\ Illegal and abusive robocalls are a 
clear problem.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\See Tony Romm, ``Robo-callers rang Americans' phones 26 billion 
times last year. Now, Congress is taking aim.'' The Washington Post, 
April 2, 2019 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/04/02/
robo-callers-rang-americans-phones-billion-times-last-year-now-
congress-is-taking-aim/?utm_term=.1b634c1c65bb); Bill Moak, ``Stop 
calling! Unwanted robocalls reaching epidemic proportions. States 
getting involved.'' The Clarion Ledger, March 11, 2019 (https://
www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2019/03/11/robocalls-ftc-mississippi-
cracking-down/3090094002/); Andy Rosen, ``Congress is taking new steps 
to stop robocall scammers,'' The Boston Globe, November 26, 2018, 
(https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2018/11/25/congress-make-take-
new-steps-stop-robocall-scammers/8Ca0oLNAbHOooDoQo6soII/story.html); 
Tara Siegel Bernard, ``Yes, It's Bad. Robocalls, and Their Scams, Are 
Surging.'' The New York Times, May 6, 2018 (https://www.nytimes.com/
2018/05/06/your-money/robocalls-rise-illegal.html); ``Illegal 
Robocalls: Calling All to Stop the Scourge,'' hearing before the 
Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the 
Internet of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation, 116th Congress (2019) (testimony of Hon. Doug Peterson, 
Attorney General of Nebraska) (https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/
_cache/files/e57e0488-3705-44d5-8e45-63bd7043cd25/
910F8B485BD5D8CE241D28BA1DEAF7AA.04-11-19peterson-testimony.pdf) 
(Peterson testimony); see also Report on Robocalls, CG Docket No. 17-
59, Federal Communications Commission (February 2019) (FCC Report) 
(https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-356196A1.pdf).
    \2\See, e.g., the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. 227 
(TCPA); Do Not Call Implementation Act, 15 U.S.C. 6101.
    \3\FCC report at 4-6 (``Youmail shows the estimated national volume 
of robocalls increasing from 29,082,325,500 in 2016 to 30,507,422,900 
in 2017, and to 47,839,232,200 in 2018.'').
    \4\Susan Tompor, ``Social Security calling? Nope, it's scammers out 
to grab your cash,'' The Seattle Times, December 15, 2018 (https://
www.seattletimes.com/business/social-security-calling-nope-its-
scammers-out-to-grab-your-cash/).
    \5\Press release, First Orion, ``Nearly 50% of U.S. Mobile Traffic 
Will Be Scam Calls by 2019'' (September 12, 2018) (https://
firstorion.com/nearly-50-of-u-s-mobile-traffic-will-be-scam-calls-by-
2019/).
    \6\April 2019 Nationwide Robocall Data, YouMail (https://
robocallindex.com/).
    \7\See Josh Saul, ``Can Annoying Robocall Voicemails Be Stopped? 
Attorneys General, Angry Phone Owners Argue Against New Marketing 
Tactic,'' Newsweek, June 5, 2017 (https://www.newsweek.com/voiceless-
messages-robocall-fight-attorneys-general-fcc-comments-621055).
    \8\See, e.g., Saunders v. Dyck O'Neal, Inc., 319 F. Supp. 3d 907 
(W.D. Mich. 2018) (concluding ringless voicemails are subject to the 
TCPA at the motion for summary judgement phase); see also Schaevitz v. 
Braman Hyundai, Inc., Case No. 1:17-cv-23890-KMM, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 
48906 (S.D. Fl. March 25, 2019) (holding that ringless voicemail is 
subject to TCPA as a matter of law.).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Consumers today are increasingly plagued by illegal robotic 
or prerecorded messages. Certain prerecorded messages are 
restricted under section 227, unless they fall within one of 
the established exceptions such as consent or an emergency 
purpose. The legislation provides the Commission flexibility to 
adopt rules and take enforcement action to combat unlawful 
calls and texts, whether they use existing technologies or 
technologies that may emerge in the future. The legislation is 
designed to provide an agile tool that can be used to combat 
robocalling abuses as technologies and methodologies of 
transmitting these pernicious calls evolve.
    But not all robocalls are illegal or unwanted. The majority 
of companies who use robocalls are legitimate companies.\9\ And 
valid robocalls can benefit consumers. Many important services 
are carried out via robocalls when institutions and call 
recipients have established a prior relationship: pharmacies 
provide updates to consumers that a prescription is ready for 
pick up; school closing announcements provide families with 
important and timely information; banks provide customers with 
fraud alerts, data security breaches, and even calls to convey 
measures consumers may take to prevent identity theft following 
a breach;\10\ auto manufacturers can warn vehicle owners of 
urgent safety recalls. These legitimate calls can have life or 
death consequences for the intended recipient. But, as the FCC 
has noted, ``[t]he same characteristics that make [legitimate] 
robocalls appealing to businesses also make them appealing to 
scammers. Those seeking to defraud consumers can do so 
efficiently and cost-effectively using robocalls, maximizing 
their ill-gotten gains.''\11\ Unwanted or illegal robocalls 
threaten this critical communication when frustrated 
recipients, fearing unwanted or illegal robocalls, are hesitant 
to answer their phones.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\Patricia Moloney Figliola, ``Protecting Consumers and Businesses 
from Fraudulent Robocalls,'' Congressional Research Service (December 
21, 2018) (https://www.crs.gov/reports/pdf/R45070).
    \10\``Rules and Regulations Implementing the Telephone Consumer 
Protection Act of 1991,'' Declaratory Ruling and Order, 30 FCC Rcd. 
7961 (2015).
    \11\FCC report at 4.
    \12\Tara Siegel Bernard, ``Yes, It's Bad. Robocalls, and Their 
Scams, Are Surging,'' The New York Times, May 6, 2018 (https://
www.nytimes.com/2018/05/06/your-money/robocalls-rise-
illegal.html) (noting that a surgeon failed to respond to a phone call 
from an emergency room believing it to be a robocall, which caused the 
surgeon to lose valuable time in responding to the injured individual).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Illegal robocallers often pose as legitimate businesses or 
government entities to trick individuals. For example, callers 
can fake their Caller ID to suggest the call originates from 
the Internal Revenue Service, a bank, or a local utility.\13\ 
Often these calls threaten that some form of legal or financial 
jeopardy will result if the recipient does not follow 
instructions.\14\ Faking or falsifying the Caller ID is known 
as ``spoofing.'' A number is ``spoofed'' when the Caller ID 
information is manipulated or altered to display anything other 
than the originating telephone number.\15\ ``Spoofing'' is 
illegal if done ``with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or 
wrongfully obtain anything of value.''\16\ In some instances, 
``spoofing'' is used legitimately to protect the caller or show 
affiliation with a specific entity. For example, a battered 
women's shelter might disguise its telephone number to protect 
the shelter's true number, which could be tracked and used to 
locate the center. A doctor calling patients from her cellphone 
may ``spoof'' her office number to help her patients know who 
is calling and to avoid giving out personal contact 
information.\17\ But, despite these examples, as technology has 
progressed, it has allowed malicious and illegal robocallers to 
dramatically increase their ability to target consumers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\FCC report at 4.
    \14\Michelle Singletary, ``Robocalls have these retirees afraid to 
answer their phones,'' The Washington Post, March 8, 2019 (https://
www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/03/08/tech-
support-scams-other-schemes-are-hitting-seniors-hard-costing-millions/
?noredirect=on&utm_
term=.bd10b4d8d833).
    \15\See ``Rules and Regulations Implementing the Truth in Caller ID 
Act of 2009,'' Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 9114, 9115, para. 1 (2011) 
(stating that spoofing may also involve manipulating or altering the 
caller ID to display a name or other text (i.e., anything other than 
the originating number).
    \16\Truth in Caller ID Act, 15 U.S.C. 227(e).
    \17\Sarah Krouse, ``Stop Robocalling Me!''; ``I Didn't!'', The Wall 
Street Journal, January 1, 2019 (https://www.wsj.com/articles/stop-
robocalling-me-i-didnt-11546261200).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On June 22, 2017, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent 
Liability (NAL) for Forfeiture finding an individual, Adrian 
Abramovich, apparently liable for perpetrating one of the 
largest spoofed robocall campaigns that the FCC had ever 
investigated.\18\ The NAL asserted that Mr. Abramovich was 
responsible for nearly 100 million illegal robocalls during a 
3-month period, which equals over 1 million calls each day and 
nearly 44,000 such calls each hour.\19\ These calls used 
spoofed numbers, appearing on a recipient's Caller ID to 
originate from a local number, increasing the odds that the 
recipient would find the number familiar or trustworthy. The 
robocalls would offer vacations and cruises to Mexico, the 
Caribbean, and Florida, and would falsely claim affiliation 
with well-known American travel and hospitality companies, 
including TripAdvisor, Expedia, Marriott, and Hilton. But 
trusting recipients would actually be connected to one of 
several unaffiliated travel agencies that had contracted with 
Mr. Abramovich to receive calls generated by his network. These 
travel agencies worked with Mexico-based call centers engaged 
in selling timeshares and vacation packages to Mexican 
timeshare facilities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \18\Adrian Abramovich, Marketing Strategy Leaders, Inc., and 
Marketing Leaders, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 
FCC 17-80, June 22, 2017 (https://docs.fcc.gov/public/
attachments/FCC-17-80A1.pdf) (NAL).
    \19\NAL.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In the NAL, the FCC proposed a fine of $120 million against 
Mr. Abramovich for apparently violating the Truth in Caller ID 
Act of 2009.\20\ The FCC also cited--but did not fine--Mr. 
Abramovich for the separate and additional offenses of making 
illegal robocalls in violation of the TCPA.\21\ The FCC may not 
impose fines on those it does not regulate, like Mr. 
Abramovich, for violations of the Communications Act or FCC 
rules until a subsequent violation after a citation has been 
issued.\22\ As Senator John Thune noted in a recent hearing, 
requiring the FCC to issue a warning citation before it can act 
against illegal robocallers and the current 1-year statute of 
limitations are hampering Federal enforcers from holding bad 
actors accountable.\23\ Moreover, the citation requirement 
allows malicious robocallers to simply set up shop under a 
different corporate name and continue their malfeasance.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \20\NAL.
    \21\Adrian Abramovich, Marketing Strategy Leaders, Inc., and 
Marketing Leaders, Inc., Citation and Order, DA 17-593, June 22, 2017 
(https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-17-593A1.pdf).
    \22\See 47 U.S.C. 503(b)(5); see also 47 CFR 1.80(a)(5).
    \23\``Illegal Robocalls: Calling All to Stop the Scourge,'' hearing 
before the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and 
the Internet of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation, 116th Congress (2019) (statement of Sen. John Thune, 
Chairman, Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and 
the Internet) (Thune comments).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On October 10, 2017, then-Commerce Committee Chairman Thune 
sent a letter to Mr. Abramovich inquiring about his involvement 
with a number of companies that have allegedly made millions of 
robocalls. On April 18, 2018, the Senate Committee on Commerce, 
Science, and Transportation held a hearing on abusive 
robocalls, with Mr. Abramovich appearing before the Committee 
pursuant to a subpoena.\24\ He spoke to the availability of 
software that allows illegal robocallers to make thousands of 
automated calls with the click of a button. Mr. Abramovich's 
testimony and responses highlight that the current policies in 
place are an ineffective deterrent for individuals violating 
the law.\25\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \24\``Abusive Robocalls and How We Can Stop Them,'' hearing before 
the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 115th 
Congress (2018) (https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/
hearings?ID=E0EB17D2-A895-40B4-B385-F94EA2716957).
    \25\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    To combat illegal robocalls, stronger penalties are needed. 
At the recent Senate Subcommittee on Communications, 
Technology, Innovation, and the Internet hearing, ``Illegal 
Robocalls: Calling All to Stop the Scourge,'' witnesses 
testified on the need for stronger enforcement mechanisms and 
the ability for law enforcement to bring criminal 
enforcement.\26\ As Senator Thune noted, robocallers view the 
risk of getting caught and paying civil fines as a cost of 
business.\27\ Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson 
acknowledged just that, stating that, ``a lot of these 
violators probably perceive it that way, as if they're fine to 
move on. I think when you bring up criminal penalties that's 
when you get their attention.''\28\ Another witness responded, 
``[I]ndividuals like that [recidivist robocaller] definitely 
need to be targeted through criminal enforcement. The best way 
to prevent illegal robocalls is to stop them from ever being 
made and the best way to ensure that is to put the people that 
are making them behind bars.''\29\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \26\Peterson testimony; see also ``Illegal Robocalls: Calling All 
to Stop the Scourge,'' hearing before the Subcommittee on 
Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet of the Senate 
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 116th Congress 
(2019) (testimony of Kevin Rupy on behalf of USTelecom-The Broadband 
Association) (https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/
855a4376-1552-4331-9b80-60743250490e/
37FA3F42A63B5BA5E8DE1CF0FC983424.04-11-2019rupy-testimony.pdf) (Rupy 
testimony).
    \27\Thune comments.
    \28\Peterson testimony.
    \29\Rupy testimony.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition to stronger enforcement and enhanced civil and 
criminal penalties, it is necessary to implement call 
authentication technologies to reduce robocalls. As robocallers 
often block or spoof Caller ID, the call recipient does not 
know the true caller. STIR/SHAKEN, an industry-developed call-
authentication protocol, provides a standards-based means for 
an originating provider to assert a calling number's 
legitimacy, and provides a means for terminating providers to 
verify that the assertion itself is legitimate and trace the 
call back to its network entry point. Although some in the 
voice services industry have begun implementing this 
technology, the TRACED Act would help to ensure the speedy 
implementation of these authentication technologies and protect 
consumers. The TRACED Act would direct the FCC to require 
implementation of the STIR/SHAKEN authentication framework in 
the Internet protocol networks of those voice service providers 
who do not implement the technologies on their own.
    According to the FCC, it faces several enforcement 
challenges in investigating illegitimate robocalls. First, many 
illegal robocallers are based in foreign countries.\30\ And 
although Congress has provided the FCC with jurisdiction over 
foreign caller ID spoofers,\31\ the FCC needs cooperation from 
foreign governments to effectively enforce anti-robocall 
regulations. Thus, the Attorney General working group that 
would be required by the TRACED Act specifically calls for 
including representatives from the Department of State to aid 
in these efforts. The FCC has also stated that the current 1-
year the statute of limitations for violations of TCPA often 
does not provide sufficient time for the agency to complete 
investigations involving complex robocalling.\32\ The TRACED 
Act would increase the statute of limitations for TCPA 
violations from 1 year to 3 years for intentional violations, 
as discussed below, which would enable the FCC to better pursue 
bad actors.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \30\FCC report at 14.
    \31\Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, Public Law 115-141; 
section 503.
    \32\FCC report at 14.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The TRACED Act is designed to respond to the scourge of 
illegal robocalls. The legislation would help to substantially 
increase the penalties for illegal robocalls with intent. The 
bill would provide stronger tools to combat illegal robocalls 
and ensure that industry and regulators have the tools and 
resources needed to address changing technologies. The TRACED 
Act has broad support: more than 60 Senators are cosponsors of 
the bill; Attorneys General from all 50 States, the District of 
Columbia, and three U.S. territories have expressed support for 
the TRACED Act, as have all Commissioners from both the FCC and 
FTC; and consumer organizations, including Consumer Reports and 
AARP, and telecommunications industry groups, including CTIA 
and US Telecom, have called for passage of the bill.

                      Summary of Major Provisions

    S. 151 would do the following:
        (1) Provide the FCC with authority to issue additional 
        civil penalties of up to $10,000 per call on those 
        individuals who intentionally violate section 227(b) of 
        the Communications Act of 1934.
        (2) Increase the FCC's ability to initiate enforcement 
        actions against those entities that make illegal 
        robocalls with the intention to violate the law by 
        extending the statute of limitations for such 
        violations from 1 year to 3 years, and eliminates the 
        citation requirement for such violations.
        (3) Direct the FCC to require voice service providers 
        to implement the STIR/SHAKEN authentication framework 
        within 18 months of enactment if providers have not 
        already taken certain steps to do so, while allowing 
        the FCC to extend the deadline in the event of undue 
        hardship.
        (4) Direct the FCC to study the implementation of STIR/
        SHAKEN and the efficacy of the STIR/SHAKEN 
        authentication framework every 3 years and report 
        findings on actions taken to revise or replace STIR/
        SHAKEN if the FCC determines it is in the public 
        interest.
        (5) Require the FCC to develop rules pertaining to a 
        safe harbor for voice service providers that 
        inadvertently block legitimate callers under a STIR/
        SHAKEN protocol and have used reasonable care, and 
        allowing parties adversely affected to verify the 
        authenticity of their calls.
        (6) Require the FCC to conduct a rulemaking regarding 
        methods to protect subscribers from receiving unwanted 
        calls or text messages that use an unauthenticated 
        number.
        (7) Direct the Attorney General to convene an 
        interagency working group to study the prosecution of 
        violations of section 227(b) of the Communications Act 
        of 1934 and to provide a report on its findings within 
        270 days of enactment.
        (8) Direct the FCC to conduct a rulemaking to consider 
        ways to modify FCC policies to reduce access to numbers 
        by potential violators within 180 days of enactment.

                          Legislative History

    S. 151, the TRACED Act, was introduced on January 16, 2019, 
by Senator Thune (for himself and Senator Markey) and was 
referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation of the Senate. As of May 20, 2019, S. 151 has 81 
additional cosponsors. On April 3, 2019, the Committee met in 
open Executive Session and, by voice vote, ordered S. 151 
reported favorably with an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute. The Committee also adopted by voice vote an 
amendment by Senator Moran that would require the FCC to submit 
an annual report to Congress detailing its enforcement 
activities related to the laws, regulations, and policies 
concerning robocalls and spoofed calls, and specifying the 
number of complaints received, complaints issued, and notices 
of apparent liability issued by the FCC.
    The House of Representatives has an identical bill, H.R. 
1602, the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and 
Deterrence Act, which was introduced on March 7, 2019, by 
Representative Kustoff (for himself and Representative Posey) 
and was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the 
House of Representatives.
    Similar legislation, S. 3655, the Telephone Robocall Abuse 
Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, was previously 
introduced and referred to the Committee in the 115th Congress.
    On April 11, 2019, the Committee's Subcommittee on 
Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet held a 
hearing titled ``Illegal Robocalls: Calling All to Stop the 
Scourge,'' during which the subcommittee received testimony 
regarding the need to provide consumers relief from illegal 
robocalls and ways to improve law enforcement tools to combat 
robocalls.\33\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \33\``Illegal Robocalls: Calling All to Stop the Scourge,'' hearing 
before the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and 
the Internet of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation, 116th Congress (2019).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On April 18, 2018, the full Committee held a hearing titled 
``Abusive Robocalls and How We Can Stop Them.'' This hearing 
examined the problem of malicious spoofing and abusive 
robocalls designed to defraud consumers, as well as measures 
being taken by government and industry to protect consumers.
    On May 18, 2016, the full Committee held a hearing titled 
``The Telephone Consumer Protection Act at 25: Effects on 
Consumers and Business.'' This hearing examined the TCPA, the 
limits it imposed on robocalls, and how the FCC had applied the 
TCPA to new technologies and practices popularized since 
adoption of the TCPA.

                            Estimated Costs

    In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:



    S. 151 would authorize the Federal Communications 
Commission (FCC) to levy additional civil penalties on people 
who intentionally violate restrictions on the use of automated 
telephone equipment (that is, illegal robocallers and 
spoofers).\1\ In addition, S. 151 would extend the period in 
which intentional violators are subject to enforcement, and the 
FCC would be required to report to the Congress annually on its 
enforcement.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Robocallers use automatic dialing systems or artificial or 
prerecorded voices to place calls without the recipients' consent. 
Spoofers disguise their identities by altering or manipulating 
information shown on caller ID. Both actions are subject to enforcement 
by the FCC.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The bill also would direct the FCC to require voice service 
providers (VSPs) to implement--within 18 months of enactment--
the framework known as STIR/SHAKEN (secure telephone identity 
revisited and signature-based handling of asserted information 
using tokens) to authenticate caller ID in their Internet 
protocol networks. The FCC would be required to assess the 
implementation and efficacy of the STIR/SHAKEN framework and 
periodically report to the Congress.
    S. 151 also would direct the Department of Justice to form 
an interagency working group to study prosecutions related to 
restrictions on the use of automated telephone equipment and 
report the findings to the Congress.

Budgetary Effects

    CBO estimates that additional penalties collected under S. 
151, which are recorded in the budget as revenues, would be 
insignificant because it would probably be difficult to collect 
assessed penalties.
    Using information from the FCC, CBO estimates that the 
agency's cost to implement the bill would total $1 million over 
the 2019-2024 period. However, because the FCC is authorized to 
collect fees sufficient to offset its regulatory costs, CBO 
estimates that the net cost would be negligible, assuming 
appropriation actions consistent with that authority.
    CBO also estimates that the cost of the operating an 
interagency working group would not be significant and would be 
subject to the availability of appropriated funds. The only 
exception would be the costs associated with the Consumer 
Financial Protection Bureau's participation in the working 
group. Any spending by the bureau, which CBO estimates would 
not be significant, would be considered mandatory.

Private-Sector Mandates

    S. 151 contains private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). CBO cannot determine 
whether those mandates' aggregate costs would exceed the UMRA 
threshold ($164 million in 2019, adjusted annually for 
inflation).
    Under current law, the FCC has encouraged VSPs to develop 
call authentication procedures that are equivalent to the STIR/
SHAKEN framework by November 2019. If VSPs do not voluntarily 
meet that standard within a year of enactment, the bill would 
direct the FCC to require them to adopt the STIR/SHAKEN 
framework within 18 months of enactment. The mandate's cost 
would be the expenses incurred by VSPs to match or adopt the 
framework as established through FCC regulation. Because CBO 
cannot anticipate the rate or degree of compliance at the one-
year mark, we cannot determine whether the mandate's costs 
would exceed the private-sector threshold.
    S. 151 would impose an additional private-sector mandate by 
removing a private right of action. The bill would limit the 
right of plaintiffs to file suit against certain VSPs for 
unintended or inadvertent blocking of calls. The cost of the 
mandate would be the forgone net value of awards and 
settlements that would have been granted for such claims in the 
absence of the bill. CBO has no basis on which to estimate the 
number of possible lawsuits that would be precluded by the bill 
and cannot predict the amount of potential forgone settlements. 
Therefore, we cannot determine whether the cost of the mandate 
would exceed the annual threshold.
    Finally, if the FCC increased fees to offset the costs of 
implementing activities required by the bill, the cost of an 
existing private-sector mandate also would increase. Using 
information from the FCC, CBO estimates that the increase would 
total about $1 million over the 2019-2024 period.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are David Hughes 
(for federal costs) and Rachel Austin (for mandates). The 
estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

    In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       number of persons covered

    The number of persons covered by this legislation should be 
consistent with current levels already regulated under the TCPA 
and the Communications Act of 1934.

                            economic impact

    S. 151 is not expected to have an adverse impact on the 
Nation's economy. Rather, the legislation would promote 
government and commercial efforts to reduce one of the largest 
consumer complaints. By eliminating scams and time-wasting 
illegal and unwanted robocalls, the legislation should 
significantly reduce economic inefficiencies associated with 
those calls, as well as combating fraud and other malicious and 
costly activity caused by such calls.

                                privacy

    S. 151 would further the privacy protections of the TCPA by 
helping to reduce the number of illegal robocalls and 
associated fraud.

                               paperwork

    The Committee does not anticipate a major increase in 
paperwork burdens resulting from the passage of this 
legislation, including with respect to the new obligations on 
voice service providers to adopt call authentication 
technologies. The bill would require reports to Congress on the 
steps taken nationally toward adoption of call authentication 
and on the work of a new interagency working group on 
preventing robocalls.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill, as reported, meet the 
definition of congressionally directed spending items under the 
rule.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title.

    This section would provide that the legislation may be 
cited as the ``Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement 
and Deterrence Act'' or the ``TRACED Act.''

Section 2. Forfeiture.

    Subsection (a) would amend section 227 of the 
Communications Act of 1934 (``Communications Act'') to add a 
new subsection (b)(4). Subparagraph (A) of that new subsection 
would provide that any person that is determined by the 
Commission, in accordance with paragraph (3) or (4) of section 
503(b) of the Communications Act, to have violated any 
provision of section 227(b) would be liable to the United 
States for a forfeiture penalty pursuant to sections 503(b)(1) 
and 503(b)(2) of the Act. The amount of the forfeiture penalty 
determined under this new subparagraph shall be determined in 
accordance with subparagraphs (A) through (F) of section 
503(b)(2).
    Subparagraph (B) of that new subsection would provide that 
for violations of section 227(b) where there was the intent to 
cause such violation, the bill would provide that the person 
who committed such violation would be subject to an enhanced 
penalty. The amount of that enhanced forfeiture penalty 
determined under this new subparagraph would be equal to an 
amount determined in accordance with subparagraphs (A) through 
(F) of section 503(b)(2), plus an additional amount not to 
exceed $10,000. The new subsection (b)(4) would include a rule 
of construction providing that the Commission may not impose a 
forfeiture on a person under both subparagraphs (A) and (B) for 
the same conduct.
    Subsection (a) would further provide that any forfeiture 
penalty determined under section 2 would be recoverable under 
section 504(a) of the Communications Act. It also would specify 
that no forfeiture liability shall be determined under 
subparagraph (A) or (B) against any person unless such person 
receives the notice required by paragraph (3) or (4) of section 
503(b) of the Communications Act.
    The FCC currently has a 1-year statute of limitations for 
violations of restrictions on the use of automatic telephone 
dialing systems. Subsection (a) would give the FCC an 
additional 2 years to pursue intentional violations of 
restrictions on the use of automatic telephone dialing systems, 
and would allow the FCC to impose additional fines for such 
violations.
    Finally, subsection (a) would revise section 227(h) of the 
Communications Act to direct the FCC to prepare an annual 
report to Congress on its enforcement of laws, regulations, and 
policies related to robocalls and spoofed calls. The report 
must include the following:
        (1) the number of complaints received that year;
        (2) the number of citations issued by the Commission to 
        enforce laws, regulations, and policies related to 
        robocalls and spoofed calls;
        (3) the number of notices of apparent liability issued 
        related to such laws, regulations, and policies; and
        (4) for each notice of apparent liability, the proposed 
        penalty, the person to whom the notice was issued, and 
        status.
    Subsection (b) would state that amendments made by this 
section shall not affect any action or proceeding commenced 
before and pending on the date of enactment.
    Subsection (c) would direct the FCC to adopt rules 
implementing this section not later than 270 days after 
enactment of this Act.
    New subsection 227(b)(4)(A) would make clear that the FCC 
may impose a penalty against any entity, regardless of whether 
or not it is a licensee or common carrier, that violates 
section 227(b), without first having to issue a citation. In 
addition, new subsection 227(b)(4)(B) augments existing 
penalties against those who intentionally violate the TCPA. 
Therefore, this new subsection provides the FCC with the 
authority to impose a penalty of up to $10,000 per intentional 
unlawful robocall, in addition to the forfeiture penalty amount 
that may be imposed pursuant to section 503(b) of the 
Communications Act of 1934, as amended.
    The FCC currently has a 1-year statute of limitations for 
violations of restrictions on the use of automatic telephone 
dialing systems. The TRACED Act would allow the FCC an 
additional 2 years to pursue intentional violations of 
restrictions on the use of automatic telephone dialing systems, 
and would allow the FCC to impose additional fines for such 
violations. The Committee intends that the changes made by this 
section would not in any way limit consumers' private rights of 
action or existing FCC authority to pursue violations of 
restrictions on use of telephone equipment under 47 U.S.C. 
503(b)(1). Additionally, the TRACED Act is not intended to 
change the existing FCC rules or the enforcement process or 
penalties applicable to good-faith calls made by legitimate 
businesses as permitted under the provisions of section 227 of 
the Communications Act.
    The Commission has and would retain in full the ability to 
penalize willful or repeated failure to comply with Commission 
rules; the TRACED Act would supplement this ability with a 2-
year extension for intentional violations. The Committee 
understands that in the past, the Commission has determined 
that ``willful,'' as used in section 503(b)(1) of the 
Communications Act, means ``the `conscious and deliberate 
commission or omission of [any] act, irrespective of any intent 
to violate' the law.''\34\ The Commission concluded ``[w]hether 
[the Company] intended to violate the TCPA is not relevant to 
determining whether the Company's conduct was willful. [The 
Company] willfully committed the act of making prerecorded 
message calls--a service for which it received financial 
compensation from its clients--and those calls violated the 
TCPA. [The Company's] violations were therefore willful.''\35\ 
Although the Commission would continue to be able to pursue 
violations--irrespective of any intent to violate-under 47 
U.S.C. 227(b)(4)(A), the additional 2 years provided by the 
TRACED Act would be limited to 47 U.S.C. 227(b)(4)(B)--
violations with the intent to cause such violation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \34\Dialing Services LLC Forfeiture Order, 32 FCC Rcd. 6192, 6203, 
at para 30 (2017), (citing 47 U.S.C. 312(f)(1)) (emphasis in original) 
(https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-17-97A1.pdf).
    \35\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    By limiting the extended enforcement period to ``violations 
with the intent to cause such violation,'' the TRACED Act would 
allow the Commission additional time to pursue the worst of the 
worst: scammers and lead-generation mills intentionally 
violating restrictions on the use of automatic telephone 
dialing systems. Merely having ``committed the act [that] 
violated the TCPA'' would not be sufficient. For example, 
making a call using an automatic telephone dialing system 
without having updated a calling list to remove customers that 
have changed numbers or that revoked consent to receive 
otherwise prohibited calls would not reach the intent standard 
necessary for action pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 227(b)(4)(B). 
Rather, the calling party must knowingly use an automatic 
telephone dialing system to intentionally place calls to 
covered numbers without a reasonable basis for believing it had 
the necessary consent to call. It must also intend to violate 
the other applicable legal requirements, including any such 
requirements set forth in the TCPA's statutory exceptions and 
the regulatory exemptions and clarifications issued by the FCC 
relating to the TCPA.
    If a caller intentionally uses an automatic telephone 
dialing system to call randomly generated numbers, sequential 
numbers (i.e., dialing the next ordinal number), or numbers 
according to a formula (e.g., every third number or numbers 
divisible by seven) without a reasonable basis to conclude that 
the intended recipient had consented to receive such calls, 
that action would constitute the intent to cause a violation, 
as long as the intent requirement was satisfied for the other 
elements of the TCPA. Similarly, if a caller uses an automatic 
telephone dialing system in violation of the restrictions in 47 
U.S.C. 227(b), and in making those calls spoofs its number in 
violation of 47 U.S.C. 227(e), the spoofing would demonstrate 
intent to cause violations pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 227(b)(4)(B).
    The Committee recognizes that the phrasing of this standard 
is not a common phrasing in the U.S. Code, and is written 
specifically in light of the need to overcome the Commission's 
interpretation of ``willful,'' to ensure that this new enhanced 
enforcement authority is limited to truly intentional 
violations. The Committee intends for the Commission and the 
courts to interpret this standard in a straightforward manner 
consistent with the guidance expressed here.
    It would be an affirmative defense to an action pursuant to 
47 U.S.C. 227(b)(4)(B) to demonstrate a practice of having 
prior business relationships with the overwhelming majority of 
intended call recipients.
    The Act would not apply the heightened intent standard to 
violations other than violations of 47 U.S.C. 227(b).

Section 3. Call authentication.

    Subsection (a) would provide definitions for ``STIR/SHAKEN 
authentication framework'' and ``voice service'' as used in 
this section.
    Subsection (b) would direct the FCC to require a provider 
of voice service to implement the STIR/SHAKEN authentication 
framework in the Internet-protocol networks of voice service 
providers within 18 months of enactment. The FCC shall not take 
action against a voice provider, though, if it determines that 
a provider of voice service, not later than 12 months after 
enactment:
        (1) has adopted the STIR/SHAKEN authentication 
        framework;
        (2) has agreed to participate with other voice service 
        providers in the STIR/SHAKEN authentication framework;
        (3) has begun implementation of the STIR/SHAKEN 
        authentication framework; and
        (4) will be capable of fully implementing the STIR/
        SHAKEN authentication framework not later than 18 
        months after enactment.
    Subsection (b) also would direct the FCC, within 12 months 
of enactment, to report on the determination required under 
paragraph (b)(2). The report must include analysis of the 
extent to which providers of voice services have implemented 
the STIR/SHAKEN authentication framework and an assessment of 
the efficacy of the STIR/SHAKEN authentication framework in 
addressing all aspects of call authentication.
    Subsection (b) also would require the FCC--within 3 years 
of enactment and every 3 years thereafter--to analyze the 
efficacy of the authentication framework implemented under this 
section and to revise or replace the call authentication 
framework under this section if the FCC determines it is in the 
public interest to do so. The FCC would also be required to 
report on the findings of these analyses and any actions to 
revise or replace the call authentication under subparagraph 
(4)(b).
    Efforts to combat illegal robocalls and Caller ID scams are 
not intended to dampen competition or innovation in the U.S. 
communications marketplace. The success of the STIR/SHAKEN 
framework's implementation across U.S. voice networks will 
depend, in part, on making solutions available for the variety 
of calling technologies and business models. As part of its 
implementation report, the Commission shall investigate and 
report on the success of efforts to develop standards to enable 
STIR/SHAKEN implementation for the various calling technologies 
and business models, such as the development of a TN-PoP 
solution for outbound-only calling services or its successor.
    Subsection (b) also would allow the FCC to extend any 
deadline for the implementation of a call authentication 
framework required under this section by 12 months or a further 
amount of time as the FCC determines necessary if the FCC 
determines that purchasing or upgrading equipment to support 
call authentication, or the lack of availability of equipment, 
would constitute a substantial hardship for a provider or 
category of providers of voice services.
    In its initial form, STIR/SHAKEN may not function properly 
with certain calling technologies and in certain scenarios, 
such as outbound-only calling technologies where the service 
provider does not assign individual telephone numbers to 
outbound callers. The development of a solution will require 
broad industry participation, and the FCC should encourage such 
participation. The Commission should encourage Alliance for 
Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) members, including 
key industry stakeholders, to develop without undue delay, a 
call authentication solution such as TN-PoP or a similar 
extension of STIR/SHAKEN that will provide an opportunity for 
such calling technologies to receive the highest level of 
attestation for outbound calls. If such a standard is not 
readily available but development is proceeding in a reasonable 
and timely manner, the Commission may consider the lack of an 
industry-standard approach to signing that would permit these 
companies to obtain highest level attestation for their 
outbound calls to present a substantial hardship and should, if 
it is in the public interest to do so, grant an extension of 
the implementation deadline to legitimate voice service 
providers using such technologies, if those providers 
demonstrate reasonable efforts to minimize caller ID fraud and 
readiness to implement a technological solution once it becomes 
available. Similarly, the Commission should monitor the pace 
with which equipment vendors upgrade their products to enable 
STIR/SHAKEN signing and should consider granting an extension, 
if consistent with the public interest to do so, to any class 
of service providers whose implementation of STIR/SHAKEN is 
hampered by an inability to procure the necessary equipment.
    Subsection (c) would direct the FCC to promulgate a series 
of rules related to the use of call authentication 
technologies. Specifically, these rules must establish when a 
provider of voice service may block a voice call based on 
information provided by a call authentication framework. The 
rules would also establish a safe harbor shielding a provider 
of voice service from liability for unintended or inadvertent 
blocking of calls, or for the unintended or inadvertent 
misidentification of the level of trust for individual calls 
based on information provided by the call-authentication 
framework. The rules would also establish a process to permit a 
calling party adversely affected by the information provided by 
the authentication framework to verify the authenticity of the 
calling party's calls. As part of the creation of this process 
the Committee believes that the Commission should consider what 
information can be provided to a caller so that the caller can 
determine why it has been adversely affected by call 
authentication, but should not provide information that would 
facilitate frustration of call authentication technologies.
    Paragraph (c)(2) would direct the FCC to consider three 
elements when limiting the liability of a provider based on the 
extent to the which the provider:
        (1) blocks or identifies calls based on the information 
        provided by the authentication framework;
        (2) implements procedures based on the information 
        provided by the authentication framework; and
        (3) uses reasonable care.
    In determining under what circumstances to provide a safe 
harbor for inadvertently blocking legitimate calls, this 
section outlines a minimum set of considerations in order to 
limit any potentially adverse impact of such action on voice 
service providers and consumers. These considerations are not 
intended to supplant the factors to which the Commission is 
more generally instructed to adhere to in the Communications 
Act. In establishing a safe harbor, the Commission's 
consideration of more general factors should include, among 
other things, the potential effect on different technologies 
and categories of voice communications providers including 
those who do not qualify as providers of voice services and the 
potential effect on subscribers including those who wish to 
receive all inbound calls.
    When establishing the rules for when a voice service 
provider may block a voice call, the Committee expects the FCC 
to consider the benefits of protecting consumers from illegal 
robocalls, and also the burden on callers and consumers in 
allowing voice service providers to block calls without 
providing prior or contemporary notice to the caller and an 
opportunity for the caller to rebut a blocking determination. 
When establishing the process by which callers may have their 
calls unblocked, the FCC should consult call originators in 
addition to voice service providers. The safe harbor should not 
be used to support blocking or mislabeling calls from 
legitimate businesses.
    The process established by the FCC should require voice 
service providers to unblock improperly blocked calls in as 
timely and efficient a manner as reasonable. The FCC should 
ensure that: (1) legitimate businesses and institutions 
conveying information to consumers are not unreasonably 
impacted by the TRACED Act or voice service providers' 
implementation of STIR/SHAKEN; and (2) the authentication and 
unblocking process under STIR/SHAKEN is not unduly burdensome 
to and does not unreasonably negatively impact legitimate call 
originators. Although blocking may be warranted in certain 
instances, the Commission should require that voice service 
providers provide their subscribers with a meaningful 
opportunity to understand that call filtering or blocking of 
certain inbound calls to their telephone number is being 
employed and should consider the feasibility of providing 
subscribers a meaningful and persistent opportunity to reject 
such blocking.
    Subsection (d) would clarify that nothing in this section 
precludes the FCC from initiating a rulemaking pursuant to its 
existing authority.

Section 4. Protections from spoofed calls.

    This section would direct the FCC to initiate a rulemaking 
within 1 year of enactment to help protect a subscriber from 
receiving unwanted calls or text messages from a caller using 
an unauthenticated number.
    The FCC must consider the following when promulgating rules 
pursuant to this section:
        (1) the GAO report on combating the fraudulent 
        provision of misleading or inaccurate caller 
        identification required by the Consolidated 
        Appropriations Act 2018 (P.L. 115-141);
        (2) the best means of ensuring that a subscriber or 
        provider has the ability to block calls from a caller 
        using an unauthenticated North American Numbering Plan 
        number;
        (3) the impact on the privacy of a subscriber from 
        unauthenticated calls;
        (4) the effectiveness in verifying the accuracy of 
        caller-identification information; and
        (5) the availability and cost of providing protection 
        from the unwanted calls or text messages described in 
        this section.
    The various considerations seek to ensure that the rules 
promulgated by the Commission are designed to ensure the 
Commission considers possible harm to competition and consumer 
trust in the telephone network. These considerations are a 
minimum set of considerations and the Commission should also 
consider: the benefits of measures designed to protect 
subscribers from receiving unwanted calls; the effect of such 
measures on the provision of voice communications by entities 
that do not qualify for full attestation under the STIR/SHAKEN 
standard; the effect on different voice technologies and 
business models; the effect of blocking or failing to block on 
the continued reliability of the public switched telephone 
network; and mechanisms to minimize potential harms. Measures 
designed to protect subscribers from receiving unwanted calls 
or texts on the basis of the call authentication framework can 
produce unwanted negative outcomes or inadvertent harms. For 
example, call blocking or filtering could disproportionately 
affect categories of providers excluded from STIR/SHAKEN--such 
as non-interconnected VoIP, international calls, and TDM 
calls--and this could harm competition as well as the perceived 
validity of the authentication system. If subscribers begin to 
question the validity of STIR/SHAKEN, because it results in 
over-blocking or over-filtering of calls, there is a danger 
that subscribers could ignore the information it supplies, 
notwithstanding considerable industry investment in the 
framework.
    In considering the best means of ensuring that a subscriber 
or provider has the ability to block calls from a caller using 
an unauthenticated North American Numbering Plan number, the 
Commission should ensure that its efforts consider to the 
extent possible the Government Accountability Office report 
required by section 503(c) of division P of the Consolidated 
Appropriations Act 2018 (P.L. 115-141), and the consumer 
education materials developed pursuant to section 503(b) of 
that law.

Section 5. Interagency working group.

    This section directs the Attorney General, in consultation 
with the Chairman of the FCC, to convene an interagency working 
group to study prosecution of robocall violations. The section 
prescribes the working group's study to include whether, and if 
so how, any Federal laws, including regulations, policies, and 
practices, or budgetary or jurisdictional constraints, inhibit 
the prosecution of such violations. The study would also 
identify existing and potential Federal policies and programs 
that encourage and improve coordination among Federal 
departments and agencies and States, and between States, in the 
prevention and prosecution of robocall violations.
    The working group should also consider collection of fines 
imposed by the FCC for robocall violations.
    Paragraph (b)(3) would direct the working group to identify 
existing and potential international policies and programs that 
encourage and improve coordination between countries in the 
prevention and prosecution of robocall violations.
    Paragraph (b)(4) would also direct the working group to 
study the following:
        (1) if any additional resources are necessary for the 
        Federal prevention and prosecution of criminal 
        violations of the Act;
        (2) whether to establish memoranda of understanding 
        regarding the prevention and prosecution of such 
        violations between the States, the States and Federal 
        Government, and the Federal Government and a foreign 
        government;
        (3) whether to establish a process to allow States to 
        request Federal subpoenas from the FCC;
        (4) whether extending civil enforcement authority to 
        the States would assist in the successful prevention 
        and prosecution of such violations;
        (5) whether increased forfeiture and imprisonment 
        penalties are appropriate;
        (6) whether regulation of any entity that enters into a 
        business arrangement with a common carrier for the 
        specific purpose of carrying, routing, or transmitting 
        a call that constitutes such a violation would assist 
        in the successful prevention and prosecution of such 
        violations; and
        (7) the extent to which any Department of Justice 
        policies to pursue the prosecution of violations 
        causing economic harm, physical danger or erosion of an 
        inhabitant's peace of mind and sense of security 
        inhibits the prevention or prosecution of any such 
        violations.
    Paragraph (c) would direct the composition of the working 
group to include possible members from the Department of 
Commerce, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland 
Security, the FCC, the FTC, and the Bureau of Consumer 
Financial Protection.
    Paragraph (d) would direct the working group to consult 
with non-Federal stakeholders, such as those the Attorney 
General determines to have relevant expertise.
    Paragraph (e) would require the working group to report 
within 270 days of enactment any recommendations regarding the 
prevention and prosecution of violations and what progress 
Federal departments and agencies have made in implementing 
those recommendations.
    The Commission should consider establishing a task force 
within the Enforcement Bureau to advise the Commission on the 
prevention of robocall fraud.

Section 6. Access to number resources.

    This section directs the FCC to commence a proceeding 
within 180 days of enactment to determine whether FCC policies 
regarding access to number resources could be modified to help 
reduce access to numbers by potential violators of section 
227(b). This section further directs the FCC to implement 
regulations to achieve the goal of reducing such access if it 
determines policy modifications are necessary.
    This section would also impose liability under section 503 
of the Communications Act on any person who knowingly, through 
an employee, agent, officer, or otherwise, directly or 
indirectly, by or through any means or device, is a party to 
obtaining number resources, including number resources for toll 
free and non-toll free telephone numbers, from a common carrier 
regulated under title II in violation of a regulation 
promulgated by the Commission under this section.
    In considering whether the Commission's rules regarding 
access to number resources can be modified to help reduce 
assess to numbers by potential perpetrators of violations of 
section 227(b), the Commission should consider implications for 
innovation and the voice communication economy. For example, 
modification of policies for access to number resources could 
increase the difficulty for non-offenders to obtain U.S. 
telephone numbers, and requirements such as in-person 
presentation of documents or identity verification tend to 
favor non-Internet-based companies or those with physical lines 
over those who do business via the Internet or use newer 
technologies. Similarly, residency requirements for telephone 
numbers may reduce downward competitive pressure on 
international voice calling rates. Therefore, at a minimum, the 
Commission should consider, among other things, the direct or 
indirect impact that any modifications might have on 
competition in and rates for voice communications, including 
international calling, and the impact that any modifications 
might have on different voice technologies and business models, 
as well as reasonable measures that could be taken to reduce 
potential negative impacts.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
material is printed in italic, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

                       COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934


                            [47 U.S.C. 227]

SEC. 227. RESTRICTIONS ON THE USE OF TELEPHONE EQUIPMENT.

  (a) * * *
  (b) Restrictions on the Use of Automated Telephone 
Equipment.--
          (1) * * *
          (4) Civil forfeiture.--
                  (A) In general.--Any person that is 
                determined by the Commission, in accordance 
                with paragraph (3) or (4) of section 503(b), to 
                have violated any provision of this subsection 
                shall be liable to the United States for a 
                forfeiture penalty pursuant to section 
                503(b)(1). The amount of the forfeiture penalty 
                determined under this subparagraph shall be 
                determined in accordance with subparagraphs (A) 
                through (F) of section 503(b)(2).
                  (B) Violation with intent.--Any person that 
                is determined by the Commission, in accordance 
                with paragraph (3) or (4) of section 503(b), to 
                have violated this subsection with the intent 
                to cause such violation shall be liable to the 
                United States for a forfeiture penalty. The 
                amount of the forfeiture penalty determined 
                under this subparagraph shall be equal to an 
                amount determined in accordance with 
                subparagraphs (A) through (F) of section 
                503(b)(2) plus an additional penalty not to 
                exceed $10,000.
                  (C) Recovery.--Any forfeiture penalty 
                determined under subparagraph (A) or (B) shall 
                be recoverable under section 504(a).
                  (D) Procedure.--No forfeiture liability shall 
                be determined under subparagraph (A) or (B) 
                against any person unless such person receives 
                the notice required by paragraph (3) or (4) of 
                section 503(b).
                  (E) Statute of limitations.--No forfeiture 
                penalty shall be determined or imposed against 
                any person--
                          (i) under subparagraph (A) if the 
                        violation charged occurred more than 1 
                        year prior to the date of issuance of 
                        the required notice or notice of 
                        apparent liability; and
                          (ii) under subparagraph (B) if the 
                        violation charged occurred more than 3 
                        years prior to the date of issuance of 
                        the required notice or notice of 
                        apparent liability.
                  (F) Rule of construction.--Notwithstanding 
                any law to the contrary, the Commission may not 
                determine or impose a forfeiture penalty on a 
                person under both subparagraphs (A) and (B) 
                based on the same conduct.
  (c) * * *
  [(h) Junk Fax Enforcement Report.--The Commission shall 
submit an annual report to Congress regarding the enforcement 
during the past year of the provisions of this section relating 
to sending of unsolicited advertisements to telephone facsimile 
machines, which report shall include--
          [(1) the number of complaints received by the 
        Commission during such year alleging that a consumer 
        received an unsolicited advertisement via telephone 
        facsimile machine in violation of the Commission's 
        rules;
          [(2) the number of citations issued by the Commission 
        pursuant to section 503 during the year to enforce any 
        law, regulation, or policy relating to sending of 
        unsolicited advertisements to telephone facsimile 
        machines;
          [(3) the number of notices of apparent liability 
        issued by the Commission pursuant to section 503 during 
        the year to enforce any law, regulation, or policy 
        relating to sending of unsolicited advertisements to 
        telephone facsimile machines;
          [(4) for each notice referred to in paragraph (3)--
                  [(A) the amount of the proposed forfeiture 
                penalty involved;
                  [(B) the person to whom the notice was 
                issued;
                  [(C) the length of time between the date on 
                which the complaint was filed and the date on 
                which the notice was issued; and
                  [(D) the status of the proceeding;
          [(5) the number of final orders imposing forfeiture 
        penalties issued pursuant to section 503 during the 
        year to enforce any law, regulation, or policy relating 
        to sending of unsolicited advertisements to telephone 
        facsimile machines;
          [(6) for each forfeiture order referred to in 
        paragraph (5)--
                  [(A) the amount of the penalty imposed by the 
                order;
                  [(B) the person to whom the order was issued;
                  [(C) whether the forfeiture penalty has been 
                paid; and
                  [(D) the amount paid;
          [(7) for each case in which a person has failed to 
        pay a forfeiture penalty imposed by such a final order, 
        whether the Commission referred such matter for 
        recovery of the penalty; and
          [(8) for each case in which the Commission referred 
        such an order for recovery--
                  [(A) the number of days from the date the 
                Commission issued such order to the date of 
                such referral;
                  [(B) whether an action has been commenced to 
                recover the penalty, and if so, the number of 
                days from the date the Commission referred such 
                order for recovery to the date of such 
                commencement; and
                  [(C) whether the recovery action resulted in 
                collection of any amount, and if so, the amount 
                collected.]
  (h) TCPA Enforcement Report.--The Commission shall submit an 
annual report to Congress regarding the enforcement during the 
preceding year of laws, regulations, and policies relating to 
robocalls and spoofed calls, which report shall include--
          (1) the number of complaints received by the 
        Commission during the year alleging that a consumer 
        received a robocall or spoofed call;
          (2) the number of citations issued by the Commission 
        pursuant to section 503 during the year to enforce any 
        law, regulation, or policy relating to a robocall or 
        spoofed call;
          (3) the number of notices of apparent liability 
        issued by the Commission pursuant to section 503 during 
        the year to enforce any law, regulation, or policy 
        relating to a robocall or spoofed call; and
          (4) for each notice referred to in paragraph (3)--
                  (A) the amount of the proposed forfeiture 
                penalty involved;
                  (B) the person to whom the notice was issued; 
                and
                  (C) the status of the proceeding.