NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A675D REVISED 06/12/19
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general business law, in relation
to limiting robocalls to state residents and to require telephone
service providers to offer free call mitigation technology to telephone
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 of the bill establishes that the act shall be known and cited
as the "Robocall Prevention Act."
Section 2 of the bill amends Section 399-p of the General Business Law
by renaming it "Use of automatic dialing devices and placement of robo-
calls and consumer telephone calls", and makes the following changes to
Subdivision 1: changes the term "automatic dialing-announcing device" to
"automatic dialing device" and amends its definition, and adds defi-
nitions for the terms "robocall", "call mitigation technology", "prior
express consent", "telephone service provider", "labor organization",
Subdivision 2: prohibits making robocalls or placing consumer telephone
calls except in accordance with the provisions of Section 399-P GBL.
New Subdivision 2-a: provides that it is only lawful for a person to
make a robocall when it is made for emergency purposes, made with the
prior express consent of the called party, made by a labor organization
to its own members or their households, or otherwise authorized by the
Department of State in limited circumstances. A customer can revoke his
or her "prior express consent" at any time in any reasonable manner.
This subdivision also authorizes the Department of State, in consulta-
tion with the Department of Public Service, to permit robocalls to be
made to residential telephone lines without prior express consent if
they are not made for a commercial purpose.
Subdivisions 3: makes conforming changes to existing law.
Subdivision 4: makes conforming changes to existing law.
New Subdivision 4-a: prohibits any person making a robocall from know-
ingly causing a caller ID service to transmit misleading, inaccurate, or
false caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or
wrongfully obtain anything of value.
New Subdivision 4-b: requires that a telephone service provider operat-
ing in the state must make call mitigation technology available to any
customer, upon request, at no additional charge. The Department of
State, in consultation with the Department of Public Service, would be
required to promulgate regulations to implement the requirements of this
subdivision, and would be authorized to allow a reasonable delay for
requiring implementation of call mitigation technology for good cause.
The Department would also be authorized to allow for the requirements of
this subdivision to be waived for network facilities where such technol-
ogy cannot feasibly be implemented due to technological limitations.
This subdivision is intended to require the implementation of call miti-
gation technology where feasible, and is not intended to require the
implementation of such technology where it cannot reasonably be imple-
mented, such as for copper telephone lines.
Subdivision 5: makes conforming changes to existing law.
Subdivision 6: left unchanged.
Subdivision 6-a: makes conforming changes to existing law.
Subdivision 7: makes conforming changes to existing law.
Subdivision 8: allows the NYS Attorney General to enforce subdivisions
2, 3, 4, 4-a, 5, 6, and 6-a of Section 399-p, and provides penalties for
violations of those subdivisions.
Subdivision 9: allows any person harmed by a violation of subdivision 2,
3, 4, 4-a, or 5 of Section 399-p to bring an action in court to enjoin
such violation and recover damages, and increases the minimum amount of
such damages available.
Subdivision 10: requires the Department of State, in consultation with
the Department of Public Service, to report on issues relating to robo-
calls and the implementation of call mitigation technology.
Section 3 of the bill amends paragraph b of subdivision 11 of Section
399-pp of the GBL to increase the penalties for violating the prohibi-
tion in subdivision 7-a of that section on knowingly transmitting
misleading, inaccurate, or false caller ID information.
Section 4 of the bill is a severability clause.
Section 5 of the bill establishes the effective date.
According to YouMail, a company that tracks robocalls and offers a call
blocking application, over 47.8 billion robocalls were placed nationwide
in 2018. Continuing the trend, 25 billion robocalls have been placed in
the first five months of 2019. Unwanted robocalls have also dispropor-
tionately targeted New Yorkers, as New York City ranked 3 in the country
in February 2019 with over 162 million robocalls received, and Buffalo
ranked 19 with almost 50 million robocalls received. New Yorkers have
received over 1.5 billion robocalls so far in 2019.
Increasingly lax oversight and the proliferation of new technology have
led to the rise in robocalls. Under the Federal Telephone Consumer
Protection Act, almost all non-emergency auto-dialed calls to mobile
phones are illegal, but the exemptions are beginning to swallow the
rules as businesses regularly successfully petition the Federal Communi-
cations Commission for exemptions to any restrictions. Furthermore,
land-lines have very limited protections, disproportionately impacting
the elderly. Technologically, the advent of Voice-over-Internet-Protocol
(VOIP) dialing has allowed companies to discharge millions of calls for
pennies and spoofing, or the ability to fake a telephone number, makes
consumers even more vulnerable to unwanted calls and scams. This tech-
nology has undermined the effectiveness of the federal government's Do
Not Call Registry, which long protected Americans from telemarketers.
This bill provides New Yorkers with strong protections against illegal
robocalls by requiring their prior express consent to receive such calls
(which can be revoked at any time), prohibiting fraudulent spoofing
activity, and authorizing strong enforcement action against those making
these illegal calls.
The bill also requires telephone service providers to provide consumers
with technology that can identify and block likely unwanted calls. This
technology is currently offered by several providers. The FCC recently
ruled that providers may block unwanted robocalls by default, and has
repeatedly urged providers to implement call authentication technology
to identify likely spoofed calls, and to offer call blocking technology
Although some providers do offer call mitigation technology for free,
others charge for its services, or haven't made it widely available or
easy to use, especially for VoIP landline phones. This bill would
require that this technology be made available free of charge, to any
consumer who requests it.
Robocalls are more than a nuisance. They undermine both privacy and
safety, use up low-income consumer's limited minutes and subject consum-
ers to harassing and intrusive telemarketing and debt collection
tactics. With this bill, consumers will regain control and no longer
have to suffer through a daily barrage of unwanted calls.
2018: A.10739 (Niou) - Referred to Corporations, Authorities and Commis-
This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have
become a law. Effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or
repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of
this act on its effective date are authorized and directed to be made
and completed on or before such effective date.