After months of negotiations, Congress approved a landmark bill on Thursday to stop the flood of illegal robocalls. The president is expected to sign it into law within the next few days. The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, or the TRACED Act, empowers the federal government with new abilities to go after illegal robocalls. Once TRACED is enacted, the FCC could fine robocallers up to $10,000 per call.
The act would also require major carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile to deploy a new technology called STIR/SHAKEN into their networks, which will make it easier for consumers to know if they’re receiving a call from a spoofed number. The House voted overwhelmingly to approve the measure earlier this month, and Thursday’s unanimous Senate vote means the bill only requires President Trump’s signature to become law.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said in a statement, “I have yet to meet someone who says they enjoy receiving those unwanted and illegal robocalls that plague our phones. This bill represents a unique legislative effort that is not only bipartisan at its core, but it’s nearly unanimously supported in Congress.”
Many carriers began to roll out the STIR/SHAKEN protocols into their networks earlier this year in anticipation of this law. By deploying the protocols, carriers are able to cross-verify numbers on their networks to ensure that a call is coming from an authentic number, not a spoofed one.