Now in his second term in Congress, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., is hoping Congress will be able to cut down on spam calls.
This week, Crist paired up with U.S. Reps. Matt Cartwright, D-Penn., Garret Graves, R-La., and Walter Jones, R-NC, to bring out the “Spam Calls Task Force Act” which will create a federal task force to cut down on spam calls. Crist’s office insisted these calls are a “growing problem” to people across the nation.
“Night and day, Americans are being inundated by spam calls. It’s more than an annoyance – it’s an invasion of privacy being used to deceive and take advantage of unsuspecting victims,” said Crist when he showcased the proposal this week. “Working together across the aisle and across agencies, we can better protect the people from this predatory practice.”
“The recent explosion of spam calls is completely out of hand, and it needs to stop,” said Graves. “Wasting people’s time and disrupting their lives isn’t marketing – it’s an invasion of privacy.”
“When unsolicited calls turn to a form of harassment and put basic communications in jeopardy, citizens need relief,” said Cartwright. “This bill jumpstarts the relief process.”
“This intrusive practice is an invasion of privacy. Our citizens should be able to answer their phones expecting a loved one or an acquaintance, not a spam caller. This bill is the first step in finding a solution to this growing problem,” said Jones.
According to Crist’s office, the proposal would make the U.S. attorney general “work with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to convene an interagency working group with other federal and state agencies to address the following issues relating to spam calls: determine if any federal laws, regulations, or policies inhibit the enforcement of section of the Telephone Consumer Protections Act that prohibits spam/scam calls; identify existing and potential policies and programs that encourage and improve coordination among departments, agencies, and states; identify existing and potential international policies and programs; consider if additional resources would be helpful; consider if formal agreements between states and the federal government and/or foreign governments would be helpful; and consider if increased criminal penalties or fines would serve as an increased deterrent.”
Crist’s bill was sent to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday. So far, there is no counterpart over in the U.S. Senate.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.