The Data Analytics Robocall Technology (DART) Act would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure public safety calls are not blocked
WASHINGTON — This week, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) announced that their legislation to crack down on robocalls has passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee. The Data Analytics Robocall Technology (DART) Act would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct a rulemaking to consider maintaining a critical call list to ensure that public safety calls are not impacted by call-blocking technologies.
“Most robocalls aren’t just unwanted and disruptive – they are illegal,” Klobuchar said. “Our legislation to expand the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) efforts to combat illegal robocalls passed the Commerce Committee. The DART Act would ensure that public safety calls are not blocked and direct the FCC to report to Congress on the effectiveness of call-blocking technologies. I look forward to this bill passing the full Senate and becoming law to protect consumers.”
“Americans know these scams are out of control,” Crapo said. “Last year, robocalls increased by 47 percent, resulting in more than 26 billion robocalls. The DART Act gives us the opportunity to review call blocking programs and provides us opportunities to keep up and stop this fraudulent menace.”
Specifically, the bill would prevent the following types of numbers from being blocked:
- Numbers used for outgoing calls by public safety answering points or other facilities that route emergency calls;
- Numbers used for calls by government entities;
- Numbers used by schools to provide school-related notifications, including weather-related closings or emergencies; and
- Numbers used for similar or emergency purposes, as determined by the FCC.
The bill would also require the FCC to submit a report to Congress on the effectiveness of call-blocking technologies.
As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, Klobuchar has been a leader in the fight to protect consumers from robocalls, ticket bots, unauthorized charges on their phone bills, and deceptive practices by fraudulent online travel booking websites.
In December 2019, the bipartisan, Klobuchar-backed Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act passed the House. The bill gives regulators more time to find scammers, increases civil penalties, promotes call authentication and blocking adoption technologies, and ensures that consumers receive call blocking services at no cost. The bill reflects a compromise between Senator John Thune’s (R-SD) TRACED Act, which passed the Senate in May, and Rep. Frank Pallone’s (D-NJ) Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, which passed the House in July, and will now go to the Senate for passage.
In July 2019, Klobuchar joined Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) to introduce the Protection from Robocalling Act to end an exemption in the Federal Trade Commission Act that some companies have exploited to enable illegal robocalls.
In June 2019, Klobuchar joined Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NM), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) to reintroduce the Deter Obnoxious, Nefarious, and Outrageous Telephone (DO NOT) Call Act to increase civil and criminal penalties for making illegal robocalls.
In April 2019, Klobuchar joined Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Tina Smith (D-MN) to introduce the Protecting American Consumers from Robocalls Act, which would enhance the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 and the Do-Not-Call Registry.
In April 2018, Klobuchar joined members of the Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet Subcommittee to introduce the Robocall Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2018. The legislation, led by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), would help the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) remove barriers that prevent the agency from pursuing those who violate robocall rules. In 2015, Klobuchar called on the FCC to implement “Do Not Disturb” technology to block telemarketing and unwanted robocalls on both landline and wireless phones.