In a nearly unanimous vote, the Senate approved a bill that would hinder robocalls and ramp up penalties for scammers who make illegal robocalls.
The TRACED (Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence) Act was introduced in November by Massachusetts Senator John Thune, a South Dakota Republican and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat. In keeping with the bipartisan spirit of everyone loathing robocalls, the bill passed today with a 97-1 vote.
Rand Paul was the only senator who voted against the bill.
“There are no blue robocalls. There are no red robocalls. There are only robocalls that drive every family in America crazy every single day,” Markey told reporters, according Roll Call. “Scammers use these calls to successfully pray on vulnerable populations like elderly Americans who are sometimes less technologically savvy.”
YouMail, a company that provides scam-blocking service and monitors robocalls estimated 48 billion robocalls were made in the U.S. last year.
The bill would extend the statute of limitations, so the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could take action on robocalls up to three years after the calls are made, rather than just a year.
TRACED also aims to make the FCC work with the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to find ways to collectively improve anti-robocall measures and prosecute offenders.
Additionally, TRACED would require carriers to use call authentication systems like SHAKEN/STIR that would help filter out scam calls before they can pester the hell out of us.
It’s a step in the right direction, but our robocall hell is still far from over.