- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
Telemarketers ask for boost in access to cellphones
Question of the Day
Telemarketers are calling on Congress to ease restrictions on their access to cellphones, saying it has become increasingly difficult to reach customers who no longer use traditional land lines as their primary mode of contact.
The “Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011,” under consideration in the House, would update portions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, allowing them to contact only those customers who want to receive these calls on their cellphones in an effort to keep the laws on pace with technology.
Right now, companies cannot use robocalls, or automated dialing systems, unless a customer gives them express permission, and they need to renew that permission every time before they call.
“A lot of what we’re doing is just modernizing,” said Rep. Lee Terry, Nebraska Republican, who is pushing the bill. “It is supposed to be a simple change.”
Opponents see the change as opening the door to abuse by telemarketers.
The bill is designed to continue to thwart solicitation calls while allowing notifications customers ask to receive on their cellphones.
“While I believe these changes in consumer behavior warrant our review of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, I’m concerned about the potential for misuse by modifying the act,” said Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, California Democrat and ranking member of the subcommittee. “In fact, my constituents have spoken very clearly - they don’t like this bill.”
Many business groups, however, are onboard with the bill, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, UPS, American Gas Association, Financial Services Roundtable and CTIA-The Wireless Association.
“We believe it helps to illustrate just how profoundly the wireless industry has changed over the last 20 years,” Mike Altschul, CTIA general counsel, said in his testimony to the House. “These changes have been momentous, as wireless has evolved from a niche voice service to the primary source of broadband communications for millions of Americans.”
The Mobile Informational Call Act is a way to keep up with the ever-changing telecommunications world, Mr. Terry said.
Right now, customers have to give express permission each time a company wants to call them. So if they are traveling to New York and ask the airline to notify them if the flight is canceled or delayed, they would have to go through the whole process again the next week when they fly to Chicago.
This bill would make it easier by allowing them to give permanent permission to specific companies and organizations. Doctors’ offices could send patients appointment reminders on their cellphones with autodialers or banks could notify customers when their accounts are overdrawn.
Mr. Terry said he is working with consumer groups to reconcile their differences and does not plan to push the bill any further unless they can come to an agreement.
“We want to make sure we make it very clear so if any company tries to abuse it or makes unwanted calls, they’re still held responsible,” he said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tim Devaney is a national reporter who covers business and international trade for The Washington Times. Previously, he worked for the Detroit News, Grand Rapids Press, Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News. Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Dysfunction, disarray at Homeland Security management cited in IG's report
- GM's Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- Treasury sells last shares in 'Government Motors'
- U.S. businesses reach out quickly to partners in Iran
- General Motors ending Chevrolet sales in Europe to focus on Opel and Vauxhall
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Allowing states to innovate could reduce dependency on bureaucracy
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- EPSTEIN: All IRS roads lead to the archivist
- HAYDEN: Intelligence, evidence and the case against Russia
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- KUHNER: Will Russia-Ukraine be Europe's next war?
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq