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FCC Seeks Comment on Reassigned Numbers; Dozens of Commenters Answer the Call

On July 13, 2017, the FCC sought comments on how it should address the problem of autodialed or prerecorded calls to “reassigned numbers”—numbers that once were used by an individual from whom the caller obtained consent, but have since been recycled and given to a different individual. Reassigned numbers pose a risk of extensive TCPA liability even for those callers that try hard to do everything right, as there is no perfect system to accurately identify all reassigned numbers at the moment they are reassigned. It is little surprise, then, that dozens of commenters chose to weigh in on the FCC’s proposal to create a database for this purpose.

Of the thirty-two comments filed, many expressed frustration with the FCC’s past treatment of the reassigned numbers issue, including its controversial one-call compliance deadline, after which the caller is deemed to have constructive knowledge of a reassignment for purposes of TCPA liability. Most supported some FCC action on reassigned numbers, including an FCC-established database of reassigned numbers and a safe harbor for callers who scrub their calling lists against the database. Among them were the comments of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which was represented by a cross-disciplinary team of Drinker Biddle attorneys and which received in-depth coverage in the trade press. Its support for a comprehensive reassigned numbers database, along with its strident advocacy for an associated safe harbor, was broadly echoed by many other commenters.

Other industry commenters included Comcast, The Internet Association, NCTA—The Internet and Television Association, Telcordia (d/b/a iconectiv), Neustar, the Student Loan Servicing Alliance, National Council of Higher Education Resources, and even the D.C. Public School system, among other entities.

National Consumer Law Center filed comments supporting the creation of a database, but opposing meaningful safe harbor relief for callers who use it. Companies providing private TCPA compliance solutions filed comments suggesting that their databases could be better leveraged. CTIA also generally opposed the creation of an FCC-established database.

The FCC’s Notice of Inquiry provides an opportunity for reply comments, currently due on September 26, 2017. After that, the FCC will evaluate the record and determine whether to proceed to the rulemaking phase, at which point interested parties would have another opportunity to weigh in. 

© 2022 Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume VII, Number 250
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About this Author

Laura Phillips, Drinker Biddle Law Firm, Washington DC, Communications Law Attorney
Partner

Laura H. Phillips is a partner in and chair of the firm's Government & Regulatory Affairs Practice Group and a member of the Telecommunications & Mass Media Team.  She has over 25 years of experience working in nearly every aspect of the telecommunications market.

Laura counsels wireless and wired technology entrepreneurs and represents these clients on issues related to the development of new technologies, including devoting substantive attention to the development of spectrum auctions, network...

202-842-8891
Anthony Glosson, Drinker Biddle, Privacy & Communications Lawyer
Associate

Anthony D. Glosson assists clients with a range of privacy, communications, and regulatory compliance matters. He is the author of several publications in the field of technology law, and has been selected as a keynote speaker for a Capitol Hill discussion on active cyber defense.

Prior to joining Drinker Biddle, Anthony worked on numerous privacy and communications matters while serving as a law clerk for FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, technology advocacy group TechFreedom, and state policy forum American Legislative Exchange...

(202) 230-5131
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