Latta, Doyle, Curtis, and O’Halleran Introduce the Robocall Trace Back Enhancement Act
Today, Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH5), who is the Republican Leader on the Communications and Technology (C&T) Subcommittee at the Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced the Robocall Trace Back Enhancement Act with C&T Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA18), Congressman John Curtis (R-UT3), and Congressman Tom O'Halleran (D-AZ1). Their bill would strengthen privately led efforts to trace back the origins of irritating and illegal robocalls while holding scammers and complicit bad actors accountable.
The Robocall Trace Back Enhancement Act provides protection for providers who share information relating to suspected fraudulent, abusive, or unlawful robocalls; illegally spoofed calls; or other illegal calls to registered organizations helping to trace back the origin of these suspicious robocalls.
“Robocalls plague every American household, and Ohioans in the Fifth District are sick of answering illegal and annoying scam calls,” said Latta. “These kinds of calls are a shameful tactic put out by bad actors hoping to prey on our most vulnerable populations, especially senior citizens. We made significant strides in Congress to protect consumers from scams and fraud with the TRACED Act, which was signed into law in 2019. But as time passes, bad actors are constantly morphing their tactics in an effort to continue with their illegal scams. I am proud that with the Robocall Trace Back Enhancement Act, we can build upon our work to stop bad actors in their tracks and protect the American people from their schemes.”
“In 2019, Congress enacted the TRACED Act to cut down on robocalls,” said Doyle. “Today we are taking another step to combat robocalls and the individuals who perpetrate them. The Robocall Trace Back Enhancement Act would create more tools to trace these calls back to the individuals who make them. With these new tools, the people who make robocalls would have no place to hide.”
“As robocalls become more sophisticated, we must ensure that our federal agencies and business partners have the power to keep up with their techniques,” said Curtis. “Through the Robo Trace Back Enhancement Act, we are working to hold these bad actors accountable for their actions and prevent them from taking advantage of our most vulnerable citizens.”
“Like so many Americans, I receive countless robocalls every week, often from spoofed numbers that appear to be dialing from just down the road,” said O’Halleran. “These calls are not only a nuisance but are often designed to trick the most vulnerable into sharing personal information, perpetuating fraud and identity theft. I’m proud to join this bipartisan group to introduce commonsense legislation that stops bad robocalls, ensures providers can track down bad actors, and protects vulnerable Arizona seniors.”
“Traceback efforts have played a central and ever-growing role in the battle against illegal robocalls. This important legislation is critical to the millions of victims of illegal robocalls because it will help empower the FCC’s registered consortium to traceback illegal calls and more effectively share actionable information to get these illegal calls off of the networks,” said Brandon Heiner, USTelecom’s Senior Vice President, Government Affairs. “We thank Representatives Doyle, Latta, O’Halleran and Curtis for their leadership on this important bill to support the critical fight against illegal robocalls. The robocall battle won’t be won overnight, but this bill will help supercharge the fight against a determined enemy.”
U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced companion legislation in the United States Senate.
In his role as Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee during the 115th Congress, Latta conducted a hearing on illegal robocalls where the subcommittee heard how difficult it is to hold bad actors accountable as they are often located overseas and change tactics regularly.
During the 116th Congress, Latta introduced the STOP Robocalls Act with C&T Subcommittee Chairman Doyle, which was signed into law in December 2019, by President Trump. This law allows a carrier of voice services to provide robocall blocking technologies to customers on an informed opt-out basis at no charge. It requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to promulgate regulations to establish a process for private entities to voluntarily share information with the Commission. This is intended to allow better information sharing between private companies and the FCC to better track and stop illegal robocalls and spoofing.
Congressman Latta has served on all six Energy and Commerce subcommittees and is currently the Republican Leader of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee. The Energy and Commerce Committee is the oldest standing legislative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and is vested with the broadest jurisdiction of any congressional authorizing committee.