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TCPA Legislative Update — President Signs Pallone-Thune TRACED Act into Law

On December 30, 2019, the President signed into law the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (Pallone-Thune TRACED Act), which amends existing laws governing robocalls and caller ID spoofing. As reported in our December TCPA Legislative Digest detailing the legislation, the bill passed the House on December 4, 2019, after months of negotiations between key members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act is a far-ranging law that takes many actions intended to reduce robocalls and spoofed calls. One important requirement found in the law is that voice service providers must implement SHAKEN/STIR at no additional cost to consumers. The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act also creates a safe harbor that shields voice service providers from liability when they unintentionally or inadvertently block or misidentify calls, so long as the provider used “reasonable care” and relied on the mandated call authentication framework. The law increases penalties and provides other tools for cracking down on robocalls. It requires the FCC to initiate a rulemaking to further help protect consumers from spam calls and texts — an effort that was underway before the bill was signed into law.

Some of the important deadlines imposed by the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act include:


Description of Obligation

March 30, 2020
(90 days after enactment)

The FCC must issue rules to establish a registration process for a private consortium that will conduct efforts to trace back illegal robocalls to their source.

April 28, 2020
(120 days after enactment)

The FCC must initiate a proceeding to protect consumers from one-ring scams.

September 25, 2020
(270 days after enactment)

The FCC must prescribe regulations implementing the new provisions imposing increased penalties for robocalls and spoofed calls.

The Department of Justice must establish an interagency working group to review barriers to enforcement of robocall and spoofed call rules.

December 30, 2020
(1 year after enactment)

The FCC must issue best practices for implementing the SHAKEN/STIR framework. It also must make a number of reports to Congress, including on

  • the status of its efforts to protect consumers from “one-ring scams,”

  • the status of the reassigned number database and its safe harbor, and

  • the implementation of the SHAKEN/STIR framework and its efficacy.

December 30, 2020
(1 year after enactment)

The FCC must promulgate rules that establish when calls may be blocked on an opt-out or opt-in basis and that provide a safe harbor for unintended or inadvertent blocking of calls or the misidentification of calls based on the framework. It also must establish a process for providing transparency on blocked calls and allow redress for callers who are being blocked, as well as ensure that calls originating from carriers exempted from the authentication requirements and emergency calls are not blocked.

June 30, 2021
(18 months after enactment)

Carriers must implement SHAKEN/STIR. The deadline does not apply if a carrier has adopted SHAKEN/STIR and begun to implement it in 12 months and will have fully implemented it within 18 months.

©1994-2023 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 14

About this Author

Russell H. Fox, Communications Attorney, Mintz Levin, Regulatory Approvals

With over 35 years in the wireless telecommunications industry, Russell is among the most experienced wireless communications attorneys in the country. Unique among his peers, Russell assists clients on federal legislative, regulatory, and transactional matters. He analyzes legislation on behalf of clients, participates in proceedings before the FCC and other federal agencies, negotiates spectrum agreements, and represents wireless providers in spectrum auctions. He is also frequently consulted on matters involving US spectrum use and policy.

Whether they are in the middle of a...

Elana Safner Cybersecurity Attorney Mintz

Elana advises clients on public policy, regulatory issues, and disputes affecting the TechComm sector, as well as privacy and cybersecurity matters. She also has experience with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) procedures and rulemakings.

She has a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) (US Specialization) certification from the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

Prior to joining Mintz, Elana worked as an associate in the DC office of an international law firm, where she advocated on behalf of her clients spanning a wide variety of...