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Cellphones Communications United States Your Rights Online

Congress May Permit Robot Calls To Cell Phones 619

TCPALaw writes "While many hoaxes have circulated in the past about cell phone numbers being opened up to telemarketers, it now may actually happen. A bill, HR 3035 (PDF), has been introduced in Congress, that would create numerous exceptions to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which banned autodialed and prerecorded robot calls to cell phone numbers. If passed, HR 3035 would permit a wide range of autodialed and prerecorded calls to cell phones that are currently prohibited, and would preempt practically all state laws providing similar protections. This is being applauded by debt collectors and banks (PDF) ... as if the bailouts weren't enough, now they get to make you pay for their calls to you."
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Congress May Permit Robot Calls To Cell Phones

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  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @12:26PM (#37555236) Journal

    This is why cell phones should be pay to call. Not pay to receive. You have no control over who calls you, therefore it makes no sense to agree to pay for incoming calls. Any plan without free incoming calls is a non-starter for me.

  • Re:Simple. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @12:28PM (#37555258) Journal
    I'm not quite that paranoid, but I don't answer my phone for numbers I don't recognize, and robocalls usually don't leave voicemail, so if I see an unrecognized number and there's no voicemail, I don't bother over who (or what) it was.

    Am I the only person here thinking that at least part of the reason behind this is so that the GOP and/or the DNC can legally get away with robocalling voters?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 29, 2011 @12:28PM (#37555266)

    Do you know who, aside from bill collectors, banks and telemarketers, wants to robo-dial your phone?

    Those same congresspeople. For polling, GOTV and of course dirty tricks.

  • by Thud457 ( 234763 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @12:34PM (#37555366) Homepage Journal

    This is a public service announcement reminding all registered Democrats not to forget election day, November 3rd.

  • by Colonel Korn ( 1258968 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @12:45PM (#37555514)

    In many places you don't pay for incoming calls at all. The caller pays a higher rate for calling a cell phone instead. Of course that means you can't put cell phones and land line phones in the same area code prefix blocks since there has to be some way to tell which is which when making a call.

    This is true throughout Europe. Unfortunately the higher rate for calling a cell phone is often 1-2 _orders_of_magnitude_ higher if you're calling from the states on a calling card. Before Skype I used to talk to my girlfriend in Europe for 1 cent a minute if she found a landline or 20-50 cents a minute if I had to call her cell. At ~3000 minutes a month and grad student incomes it meant we had to put a lot of effort into finding reliable pay phones.

  • Google Voice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Captain_Loser ( 601474 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @12:48PM (#37555564)
    I have found the the "beta" spam feature of google voice does a good job of filtering out crap calls. Also, every cell phone that I have used for the past 10 years has had caller ID. I just don't answer calls that I don't recognize. If it's important, they'll leave a voicemail.
  • Re:Simple. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @12:51PM (#37555606)

    Am I the only person here thinking that at least part of the reason behind this is so that the GOP and/or the DNC can legally get away with robocalling voters?

    You're one of the few people who won't make it a partisan issue.

    I don't answer numbers I don't know - since most of us don't get unlimited calling, I think any cold-calling absolutely sucks and ought to be banned, or callers ought to be made to pay credit to your phone account (whether it's mobile or not). I don't know if it's still this way, but in Brazil the caller paid cellphone charges for calling a mobile number. Suddenly that seems like a great idea.

  • by subreality ( 157447 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @12:52PM (#37555648)

    Yep. When we say the cell market is terrible in the US, we're not kidding. We also pay for incoming texts. You can nail people for $0.20 a pop by text bombing them. The major carriers use incompatible technologies, so it's a major hassle to take your business elsewhere... not that any of them offer a better deal anyway.

  • Re:Simple. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kmankmankman2001 ( 567212 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @12:55PM (#37555696)

    Am I the only person here thinking that at least part of the reason behind this is so that the GOP and/or the DNC can legally get away with robocalling voters?

    Perhaps - as many of us are aware that existing law already exempts political calls anyway. The proposed bill wouldn't grant them any more access than they already have. There are MANY reasons to oppose this bill and I suggest that people should contact their congressman/woman to voice their concerns - but not for the reason you raise here.

  • by BabyDuckHat ( 1503839 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @01:03PM (#37555792)
    "since it isn't a problem for me I am not concerned."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 29, 2011 @01:23PM (#37556056)

    You have to remember to keep it alive. Judgments that are not acted on for a period of time can become dormant and eventually die (thereby becoming noncollectable).

    Interestingly enough, you may be able to file with the IRS to levy against JK's tax returns

    As an aside, my favorite collections story involves my former boss, who had a client who won a huge claim against Walmart. Walmart refused to cooperate with the collection efforts and basically ignored everything. So he levied against all the property they owed in the county. He then proceeded to go to a store one day with the Sheriff's office and opened every single cash register, emptied it and, when that wasn't enough, had them open the safe and took that money too. When they showed up the next day at a different Walmart to do the same thing, Walmart, remarkably enough, had a manager waiting for them to write a check for the rest of the money and collection costs.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @01:23PM (#37556058) Journal

    Yes it costs the same in physical resources. But it doesn't necessarily benefit both parties. The caller is the one who wants to initiate contact, so he should pay. The recipient may want the call, they may not want the call, or they may not care at all. But we know for certain the caller wants the call to go through. Since every phonecall has a caller and a recipient, every phonecall gets paid for by someone who wants that phone call.

    To put this another way, if I take a shit on your lawn, it takes the same resources to clean it up whether I pay for it, or you pay for it. Is it fair for me to ask you to pay half those costs?

  • Re:If Only (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jstlook ( 1193309 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @01:51PM (#37556418)
    And the simple solution to this: don't identify yourself to anyone unless you've obtained the purpose of their call. Seriously, why give out information that they may not already have?

    It's not being courteous, it's being naive - at least in todays' society.
  • Re:Simple. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @02:23PM (#37556924)

    The DNC wants to raise taxes to pay the price for continued society. It is the RNC who refuse to pay for the government they enact and it has been for 30 years.

    Given two choices, Tax and Spend or Debt and Spend, guess which one is more sustainable? The alternative Pillage and Run promoted by the tea party is not a viable alternative.

  • Re:Simple. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zancarius ( 414244 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @02:29PM (#37557012) Homepage Journal

    But they always exempted themselves anyways. I get cold calls all the fucking time from robocallers and phone pools for the local Republican turds trying to get reelected. It's one small reason among many that I won't vote for those corrupt goons.

    The Democratic congress critters have been doing the same thing. Prior to the 2010 elections, one of our House reps (also a Dem at that time) had automated messages hitting me every evening.

    I suspect it's not "Republican turds," but rather the consequence of political turds. Lots of reps do it--it's just that we complain less when it's someone with whom we agree.

  • Re:Simple. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 29, 2011 @02:39PM (#37557192)

    I often wonder if it isn't the anti-tea party people who are the real racists.

    After all, they're the ones who seem to think that there can't be a single good reason to want Obama out of office except that he's black. Therefore, anybody who wants him out of office must want him out because he's black.

    Which side is the one focused on race there?

  • Re:Simple. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @02:52PM (#37557414)

    The cost of waging war is is far less than our deficit spending. The entire cost of our military including the wars, all research, development and readiness is about half of our deficit spending.

    Bringing the troops home is not enough. Taxes have to be raised, period. There is no alternative that doesn't leave America a shattered shallow mockery of a failed state.

  • Re:Simple. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by operagost ( 62405 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @03:20PM (#37557858) Homepage Journal
    Why do people claim they believe this stuff when it just makes them appear stupid? I mean, there are likely about zero Tea Party people who are billionaires and most are middle class. And did you notice that one of the top tea party-favored candidates is black? And that a tea-party-favored member of the CBC is black?

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann