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FCC to establish ‘Do-Not-Call’ registry to protect Public Service Answering Points from ‘robocallers’

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is beginning to take steps to implement a “Do-Not-Call” registry for Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) -- which receive and route phone calls to first responders -- that would prohibit operators of automatic dialing equipment or “robocall” systems to send voice or text calls to these emergency facilities.

“The proposed rules are designed to address concerns about the use of automatic dialing equipment, which can generate large numbers of phone calls in a short period of time, tie up public safety lines, divert critical responder resources away from emergency services, and impede access by the public to emergency lines,” explained the FCC in a Federal Register notice it published on June 21.

This new Do-Not-Call registry for PSAPs was mandated in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed new registry by August 6, 2012 by accessing the FCC’s electronic filing system by clicking here.

The agency adopted its proposed rulemaking on May 21.

The FCC needs to develop a detailed set of rules to implement this Do-Not-Call initiative. “Specifically, the Commission seeks comment on the most efficient means of establishing a PSAP Do-Not-Call registry, the process for accessing the registry by operators of automatic dialing equipment, safeguards to protect the registry from unauthorized disclosure or dissemination, rules to prohibit the use of automatic dialing equipment to contact numbers on the registry, and enforcement provisions contained in section 6507 ( c ) of the Tax Relief Act,” says the FCC notice.

The FCC has experience in this realm, having established a nationwide “Do-Not-Call” registry for ordinary citizens who do not want to receive unsolicited phone calls. “The commission seeks comment on whether and, if so, to what extent, the FTC’s approach is a useful and cost effective model for the PSAP registry,” the notice adds.

Further information about this new Do-Not-Call registry for PSAPs is available from Richard Smith, of the FCC’s consumer and governmental affairs bureau, at 717-338-2797 or Richard.Smith@fcc.gov.