FCC Clarifies that Voice Service Providers can Block Robocalls by Default

The ruling clarifies that telecom providers may also offer their customers the choice to opt-in to tools that block calls.

6/18/19

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a declaratory ruling allowing voice service providers to block calls by default (as opposed to a consumer opt-in) based on call analytics that target unwanted calls, as long as their customers are informed and have the opportunity to opt-out of the blocking. 

The ruling clarified that telecom providers may also offer their customers the choice to opt-in to tools that block calls from any number that does not appear on a customer’s contact list or other “white lists.” This option would allow consumers to decide directly whose calls they’re willing to receive, based on the contact list in a person’s smart phone. 

The FCC is urging voice providers to implement the so-called “SHAKEN/STIR” caller ID authentication framework by the end of 2019. Failure to do so could result in further rulemaking to require implementation of the technology. SHAKEN/STIR stands for Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) and the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) – it is a protocol for authenticating phone calls with the aid of cryptographic certificates. 

In addition, the FCC is seeking comment on whether to: 

  • Create a safe harbor for providers that block maliciously spoofed calls (so that caller ID cannot be authenticated) and that block calls that are “unsigned.” 
  • Require voice service providers that block calls to ensure that emergency calls reach consumers. 
  • Provide protections and remedies for callers whose calls are erroneously blocked. 

Question of the Week 

Q. Can a credit union require a member to purchase GAP insurance when extending an auto loan? June 18, 2019 

A. Yes.  However, if you require the member to purchase any insurance, debt cancellation or GAP, the fee would be considered a finance charge. When you allow the member the option to purchase any of those products, the fee may be excluded from the finance charge as long as the credit union does the following: 1) Discloses in writing that the service is optional; 2) Discloses the amount of the fee and explain any limitations on the term of coverage if it does not run for the full term of the loan; and, 3) Obtains the member’s signature or initials indicating that the member wants to purchase the service.
 
Additionally, credit unions should consider the ramifications of requiring GAP insurance when extending an auto loan to a member who is on active duty, as it could cause the MAPR to exceed the permissible rate allowed per the Military Lending Act. 

Resources 

12 CFR 1026.4(b)(10) 
12 CFR 1026.4(d)(3) 

Legal Briefs 

National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) 

NCUA released a video that explains the home buying process. 

NCUA announced that Q1 2019 State Credit Union data reports is now available. 

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) 

CFPB announced upcoming symposium on June 25 which will focus on the Dodd-Frank Act’s prohibition on abusive acts or practices. The symposium will be webcast on the bureau’s website. 

CPRB released a spending tracker tool that can help members with budgeting. 

CFPB and several state Attorney Generals settle with Student CU Connection CUSO, LLC regarding private student loans for students at ITT Technical Institute. 

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 

IRS issued proposed rulemaking and guidance under Section 958 (Rules for Determining Stock Ownership) and Section 951A (Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income). 

Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) 

OFAC has updated the SDN list as of June 12, 2019. The last update prior to this was June 5, 2019.