Olens fights robo-calls to cell phones

ATLANTA — Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens and 53 other attorneys general want Congress to oppose legislation targeting consumers’ telephone privacy.

According to a news release from Olens:

The “Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011” [H.R. 3035] would amend the Communications Act of 1934 and allow for robo-calling to all cell phones, leaving consumers to foot the bill, Olens said. For example, debt collectors and other businesses could place automated “informational” calls to cell phones, impacting those who pay by the minute or have a limited number of minutes available.

In addition, since businesses frequently have the wrong contact information, consumers could be receiving and paying for repeated robo-calls on their cell phones to accounts that are not their own.

This legislation would narrow the definition of what constitutes an illegal “automatic telephone dialing system.” If passed, the new definition would only prohibit “random or sequential number generators” which means “targeted” calls would be permitted, Olens said.

Currently, federal law allows robo-calls to be placed to individuals who have given their explicit consent to receive them or in case of an emergency. If this federal legislation passes, the law will be expanded to allow businesses to robo-call any consumer who has provided their telephone number in the course of a transaction – regardless of whether a consumer asks not to be contacted.

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