H.R. 3035, the Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011, which was introduced by Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry and cosponsored by Missouri’s Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-9) among others, seeks:
To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to permit informational calls to mobile telephone numbers, and for other purposes.
In other words, this bill would permit businesses to send spam robo-calls about their products to your cell phone, using the minutes you pay for.
It’s been illegal for telemarketers to initiate contact via cellphones since the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991. H.R. 3035 attempts to circumvent TCPA provisions by specifying that businesses can phone (or robo-call) your cell phone “for informational purposes” as long as the call does not “constitute a telephone solicitation.” If this bill were to pass, you could end up paying for minutes that some random stockbroker , say, might use to “inform”
you a few thousand people, via a recorded message, about a new offering (without, of course, specifically soliciting a purchase).*
The folks pushing this bill, which includes entities like the American Bankers Association, the Financial Services Roundtable, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, contend that the probibition on the use of cell phones enacted by the TCPA is outdated because
Congress intended this restriction to protect consumers against the then-daunting per-minute costs and privacy concerns associated with unsolicited incoming calls from telemarketers. But this restriction applies equally to informational calls. In addition, most wireless consumers are now covered by flat-rate plans, and even for those who are not, technological advances and increased competition have greatly reduced per-minute charges.
Hunh? Do you want to waste your minutes on mechanized telephone spam? Do you just love the idea getting dozens of robo-calls daily? If you do, fine. But if you don’t, let your congress person know that fact. Make some noise so that folks will know that if they vote for this they’ll generate enough ruckus to more than outmatch the “good will” that they will earn from businesses eager to use our phone billing plans for their own ends. For what it’s worth, MoveOn.org also has a petition you can sign.
Finally, for those of you who can’t figure out what this does for anyone besides the 1%, if you live in the ninth congressional district, maybe you should let Rep. Luetkemeyer know that you don’t appreciate being sold out. Or, even if you don’t live there, if you know someone who does, maybe you could let them know what their representative is plotting. I wonder how many of his constituents actually know what he’s up to when he isn’t busy trying to thwart those damned climate scientists and their pesky theories about global warming?
*Sentence edited to clarify the meaning.