Twenty-one Democrat Congressmen and Senators urged the U.S. Supreme Court to maintain the exceptionally broad application of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in the upcoming case of Facebook v. Duguid.
The Insights Association also recently joined 10 other business groups in an amicus brief in the case in support of returning to the original narrow statutory definition of an automatic telephone dialing system (autodialer), instead of the overly-broad definition applied by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) since 2015 that implicates even a simple smartphone as a potential autodialer.
Led by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA-18) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), the amicus brief filing argued that "TCPA is a critical law that stops intrusions on Americans’ privacy, deters scams, and protects the integrity of the telephone as a means of communication" and narrowing the TCPA definition of an autodialer "would be disastrous for America because unrestricted robocalls would completely undermine the telephone as a means of communication."
Their brief contends that Congress defined an autodialer "to encompass systems like predictive dialers that dial telephone numbers stored in a list or database (the “store” prong) and systems that dial arbitrary numbers produced by a random or sequential number generator (the “produce” prong). ... The TCPA has been consistently enforced to include both randomly dialed numbers and dialing from databases without consent. Even then, complaints about robocalls have increased."
Also joining the brief were Reps. Doris Matsui (D-CA-06), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA-29), Jerry McNerney (D-CA-09), Jackie Speier (D-CA-14), Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08), Alcee Hastings (D-FL-20), Ed Case (D-HI-01), Bobby Rush (D-IL-1), and Marc Veasey (D-TX-33) and Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Tom Carper (D-DE).
Facebook filed this case right after the Supreme Court ruled in Barr v. AAPC that the TCPA should remain intact, but struck down a 2015 exemption for calls collecting government debt. The U.S. government has already chimed in to support Facebook’s position, as have a number of other business interests. Oral arguments are scheduled for December 8.