Federal Communications Commission and Australia Communications and Media Authority vs. Illegal Robocalls
The United States is not unique in its efforts to combat illegal robocalls. Consumers in other countries are dealing with the same issue. In a step towards combining enforcement efforts across international borders, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Australia Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to “work together to develop and coordinate a global approach to addressing unlawful robocalls or robotexts, and the unlawful use of inaccurate caller ID information or ‘spoofing’”.
The MOU does not create additional rights or legally binding obligations under international or domestic law. Instead, its stated purpose is to promote the exchange of information and mutual assistance between the participants “for the purpose of enforcing and securing compliance with Covered Violations.”
According to definitions included in the MOU, a “Covered Violation” refers to practices that violate or potentially violate the applicable laws of one country that are substantially similar to practices prohibited by any provision of the applicable Law of the other country. These laws include the following US laws and their Australian equivalents:
- Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. § § 151-155, 227;
- Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Truth in Caller ID Act, 47 U.S.C. §227;
- Federal Communications Commission Rules, 47 CFR § § 0.111(a)(24); 64.1200; 64.1600(e);
- The Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, 5 U.S.C. §552a; and
- The Freedom of Information Act, as amended, 5 U.S.C. §552.
- Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005;
- Do Not Call Register Act 2006;
- Spam Act 2003;
- Telecommunications Act 1997.
The MOU, which was executed by FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and ACMA Chair and Agency Head Nerida O’Loughlin, bears the weighty title, the “Mutual Assistance in the Enforcement of Laws on Certain Unlawful Communications Agreement,” and can be reviewed here: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-372922A1.pdf.
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