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Senate Commerce OKs Robocall Bill

The Senate Commerce Committee has approved, S. 2204, the Data Analytics Robocall Technology Act (DART Act).

That came at a markup in the committee Wednesday (Dec. 11). 

The bill would give the FCC 180 days to initiate a rulemaking to consider maintaining a list of numbers that are not eligible to be blocked (as part of default robocall blocking). 

Those numbers could include, said the bill, public safety answering point outgoing calls, emergency calls generated by a government entity, school-related notifications, and weather-closure related calls, other automated emergency calls. 

The FCC would also have to report back to Congress on the effectiveness of "various categories of call-blocking tools" and any legislative recommendations. 

The FCC under chairman Ajit Pai has clarified that carriers can block unwanted robocalls by default, urged them to do so by the end of the year, and will mandate it if carriers don't meet that deadline, says Pai.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.