In two separate public comments this week, Attorney General Lynn Fitch, and a coalition of Attorneys General, urged the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) to stop telemarketing companies from using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to evade laws that protect consumers from unwanted, illegal robocalls.
“As technology evolves, it is critical that enforcement guidelines and regulations keep ahead of the curve to ensure states have the ability to protect consumers against unwanted, illegal calls and texts,” said General Fitch. “New technology makes it easier for companies already looking to skirt the laws to bombard consumers with robocalls, and it is my hope that the FCC offers clarity to ensure emerging technologies are not used to evade consumer protection laws.”
In response to an FCC Notice of Inquiry about the implications of AI for robocall consumer protections, the State Attorneys General sent a letter urging the FCC not to allow AI to create a gaping loophole in enforcement by allowing outbound calls using AI technology without prior express written consent of the consumer. In the letter, the Attorneys General argue that AI technology is not the functional equivalent of a live agent and the current prohibition on artificial voice messages in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act should apply to AI tech that generates human voices. Read the entire letter here
In response to a separate FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the State Attorneys General also urged the FCC to reaffirm that VoIP service providers are information services and thus subject to enforcement actions by the States to protect consumers from illegal call traffic. Some VoIP providers are arguing that the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) makes their status ambiguous and gives them a shield against State enforcement when they facilitate illegal robocalls. In the letter, the “State AGs find no ambiguity or room for confusion in our reading of the NPRM, or regarding the status of VoIP providers generally,” but asked “the FCC to clarify that the proposals described in the NPRM do not seek to affect, reclassify, or otherwise impact or alter the treatment of VoIP service providers, as that classification currently stands with the Commission.”
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