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US FCC imposes US$5 million fine for robocalls, as spam fight falters in India

As a part of its investigation, the FCC issued subpoenas and spoke with robocall recipients; meanwhile, Indian-origin robocalls continue to be a headache here and elsewhere.  The United States Federal Communications Commission proposed a US$5.13 million fine on conservative activist Jacob Wohl and his associates for 1,141 unlawful robocalls, it announced on August 25. This is the largest robocall fine ever proposed by the FCC under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of the US. The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau investigation found that the calls, in this case, were apparently pre-recorded and made to phones without the prior consent required under US law — the TCPA prohibits making pre-recorded voice calls to wireless phones without the consent of those receiving the calls regardless of the content of the calls. The robocalls in this case, made over August and September last year before the US presidential elections, used messages telling potential voters that if they voted by mail, their “personal information [would] be part of a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts.” The FCC began its investigation following consumer complaints and concerns raised by a non-profit. Robocalls are one of the biggest forms of spam in the United States and are a growing concern in India too. Much of the Indian approach is centred on SMS spam. As the US FCC administers a multi-million dollar fine on at least one such case, the Telecom…

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