FCC Signs Agreement with Canadian Regulator to Combat Unlawful International Robocalls

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By: Ernesto Mendieta

On November 17, 2016, the Enforcement Bureau of the FCC and the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Mutual Assistance in the Enforcement of Laws on Automated Telephone Calls and Inaccurate Caller Identification (MOU).

The two agencies recognized the importance of developing a global and coordinated approach to address unlawful robocalls and inaccurate caller identification, and committed to combat the threats that they pose to consumers and their confidence in critical communication systems.
The MOU sets forth the intent for mutual assistance and the exchange of information for the purpose of enforcing and securing compliance regarding unlawful robocalls and caller id spoofing.

The Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc declared in connection with the MOU that the FCC“knows that a lot of these calls originate from outside the United States.  It is imperative that we work with our counterparts around the globe to quickly identify the origin of these and to shut them down at their source.”

This MOU follows other international efforts that the FCC has undertaken to combat unwanted robocalls, including a similar agreement that the FCC signed last June with members of the Unsolicited Communications Enforcement Network (UCENet, formerly called the London Action Plan).  The UCENet is conformed by enforcement authorities across the globe (including Netherlands, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea and South Africa) with the purpose to promote international cooperation and activities targeting unsolicited calls and texts, as well as unlawful spam related problems.

The international efforts by the FCC are likely to continue, since it considers sharing intelligence, identifying common threats, learning best practices and receiving assistance from agencies of other countries is in the best interest of the FCC to become more efficient in enforcing the TCPA, the Truth in Caller ID Act and other related provisions.