Response To The Pending Federal Legislation Concerning Caller ID Spoofing

Posted by

This is in response to the pending federal legislation concerning caller ID spoofing in 2007 and the potential effect of that legislation on SpoofCard.com and our customers.

The key point to keep in mind is that Congress appears to have recognized that it cannot create a blanket ban on caller ID spoofing, so it is now focused on specific objectionable uses of spoofing, particularly to commit crimes or to harass people.

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 521 in June. That bill originally outlawed caller ID spoofing broadly, but after a number of witnesses testified at hearings about the legal and business problems with a blanket prohibition on spoofing, the bill was amended to insert an intent requirement. As passed, the bill only makes it illegal for a person to cause any caller identification service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller identification information, with the intent to defraud or cause harm. The bill does not provide for liability for a caller identification service such as SpoofCard that transmits the information.

A few weeks ago, the Senate Commerce Committee approved an amended caller ID spoofing bill, S. 704. Section 2 of the bill would make it illegal for anyone “to cause any caller identification service to knowingly transmit misleading or inaccurate caller identification information with the intent to defraud or cause harm.” S. 704 may now be considered by the Senate (although there is no requirement that the Senate consider it). There is no way to tell if or when the bill will ever be passed by the Senate.

S. 704 and H.R. 521 contain different language. Therefore, assuming that the Senate were to pass S. 704, the two houses of Congress would have to hold a conference and agree to compromise language. Then, both the House and Senate would have to pass identical bills containing that language. Whatever compromised language is agreed upon, it seems certain that the resulting law will have an intent requirement. Thus, caller ID spoofing will still be legal except for a certain limited category of uses where the user (not the service provider) has the requisite bad intent.

Therefore, there is no risk to our SpoofCard customers as long as you do not employ spoofing to defraud, harass, or cause harm to anyone.

Leave a Reply