Congressional Legislative Session Activities
- Net Neutrality
- Child Protection
- Customer Proprietary Network Information
- Online Issues
- Pharma Gift Reporting
- Personal Identifiable Information
- Protected Health Information
- Invasion of Privacy
- Consent and Recording
- Automated Dialers
- Caller ID
- Do Not Call-Telephone Solicitation
- Political Telephone Calls
On the federal level, the Democrat-majority 110 th Session of Congress convened on January 4, 2007. On the state level, 39 states and DC have assembled for the 2007 legislative session.
Congressional Session Activities
A few measures have been introduced in the 110 th Congress that may impact survey research. Though these measures exist, CMOR predicts no or minimal legislative action will occur on these bills in the next few months. The measures that have been introduced include:
- Net Neutrality – A measure (a repeat from last year) that seeks to maintain “network neutrality” principles-ensures that broadband service provides do not discriminate against Internet content, applications or services by offering preferential treatment. Some broadband providers have discussed plans to start acting like a gatekeeper on the previously World Wide Web, capable of deciding which content can get through to consumers, and which content providers could get special deals, faster speeds and better access to the consumer.
- Deleting Online Predators Act – A bill (also a repeat from last year) to prevent the carriage of child pornography by video service providers, to protect children from online predators, and to restrict the sale or purchase of children’s personal information in interstate commerce. (Referred to as The Deleting Online Predators Act or DOPA in the previous Congress.)
- Customer Proprietary Network Information – A bill that would prohibit the unlawful acquisition and use of confidential customer proprietary network information.
State Legislative Activities
CMOR predicts a host of state legislative activity this session and a great deal of legislation may seek to restrict calls or activities for survey research purposes. As a result, CMOR wants to develop the best strategy that will eliminate the issue in its entirety. CMOR is in the process of contacting all state legislatures that have created legislation that would have negative implications for the profession. Based on our contacts we are determining the intent behind the legislation and understanding the needs associated with each state legislature. We will then work with the legislatures in an attempt to develop new legislation that protects their intent, but also protects the needs of the survey research profession. Moreover, we are determining strategy. CMOR is gathering additional information about the viability of these bills and are evaluating various strategies with the Government Affairs Committee and working with other associations and companies to effectively and expediently protect the profession.
GA introduced a bill to prohibit persons from using false misrepresentations via the Internet or electronic mail (e-mail) to induce others to provide identifying information.
VA introduced a bill that amends the current state spam law to regulate falsifying or forging electronic messages transmissions. Electronic messages have been defined to include- any text, image, or other communication transmitted to a computer. This legislation has broad impact – including for research contacts - , and reinforces the need for survey research practices that prevent research emails from being considered spam.
VA has introduced a bill to amend the existing Spyware law to include computer software that records a majority of keystrokes made on a computer, and software that disrupts the services or transmit of instructions or data to other computers or related computer equipment or device-including printers, scanners or fax machines.
MS introduced a bill that would require pharmaceutical manufacturing companies and their pharmaceutical marketers to disclose, to the State Board of Pharmacy, the value of any gift greater than $25.00 given to healthcare providers. “Pharmaceutical marketers” –which (by definition) includes survey researchers - are required to comply with this reporting requirement. CMOR is working with other organizations to develop uniform language to exempt survey researchers’ practices. An exemption is critical, since we would not only be impacted by the reporting requirement, BUT also classified as a marketer.
Personally Identifiable Information
MO introduced legislation to amend its current law, to require financial institutions to obtain written customer consent prior to the release of any financial or personal information.
ND prefiled a bill that exempts the disclosure of trade secret, proprietary, commercial, and financial information of economic development records and information. Proprietary information has been defined to include information discovered by research (or shared with research sponsors. The term research is provided in a general context, and as a result CMOR is working on getting a clear definition of the scope of the term.
Protected Health Information
MI introduced legislation to exempt protected health information from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
Invasion of Privacy
MT introduced legislation that would prohibit any entity from obtaining the personal information of an individual through fraud and the unlawful electronic monitoring of a person’s via a cell, satellite or other electronic device.
Consent and Recording
MS introduced legislature to prohibit recording of private communications without the consent of all parties privy to the communication. This bill would apply to all communications, including those for research purposes.
MO has introduced three bills that prohibit the use of ADAD to contact consumers listed on the state no call list. These measures would apply to all users of ADAD systems, including survey researchers and political pollsters. CMOR has made this type of legislation a high priority on our agenda. As it currently stands, CMOR is developing a plan of action and is working collaboratively with other associations to address this matter and any of future legislation that will emerge regarding this issue.
MO has also introduced two bills that expands its state no call list to include cell phone and fax numbers of residential and business subscribers and also seeks to prohibit the use of automatic dialing announcing devices for noncommercial or political purposes. Once again, this type of legislation is receiving high priority for legislative action by CMOR. We are reviewing the intent behind the legislation and drafting recommending language to amend the current scope to protect the needs of legitimate survey research. CMOR will keep our members posted on the developments of this legislative matter.
VA prefiled a bill that prohibits the use of an automatic dialing announcing device by anyone (which would include survey researchers) to make telephone call to a subscriber on the National Do Not Call Registry. The legislation also requires that use of a dialing device is prohibited unless the subscriber has knowingly volunteered or consented to receipt of the message.
AK prefiled a bill to prohibit any person, other than law enforcement agencies, state government, or a municipality, from inserting false information into a caller ID system by voice or written communication.
CT, MO, and IL have introducedbills that prohibit the use of automated dialing announcing devices (ADAD) for political purpose calls, including political polling. This legislation is receiving first priority; the intent clearly seeks to create provisions that would prohibit the use of autodialers for conducting polls. CMOR has contacted state legislatures to understand their intent behind introducing this type of legislation. Once we understand their rationale, CMOR will be able to work with the legislatures to develop new legislation that seeks to achieve their goals and protect the interests of the survey research profession. We are also reviewing the viability of this legislation, by determining the leadership of the sponsor, likelihood of passage, and a timeline for legislative activity. CMOR will keep you posted on our developments in this issue.
CT, MI and TX have introduced legislation to expand their state do not call list to include the prohibition of automated political recorded messages- which is essentially any outbound telephone call that plays a recorded message to promote, or campaign for or against a political candidate or a political issue. The full potential impact on the profession cannot be determined until the term promote is clearly defined, based on the scope of that term, CMOR may need to seek an exemption for the profession or at best seek clarity to the term.
MI and NE has also introduced legislation to require committees to register employees that conduct political “robo” or computer generated calls.
NY introduced legislation that would require the sender of a fax to provide a toll free telephone number so the recipient can request removal from future distribution lists. This bill would apply to all entities, including survey researchers.
Do Not Call-Telephone Solicitation
CT introduced legislation to add cellular text messages to the do not call list.
CT has also introduced three bills that prohibit a telephone solicitor from using a recorded message device to connect to a call, unless the consumer knows and has consented or authorized the receipt of the message, and the message is immediately preceded by a live operator.
MS introduced legislation that prohibits fax solicitations to residential subscribers.
NY has introduced legislation to include facsimile transmissions in the state telemarketing do not call registry.
Other Sales-Related Legislation
NY introduced legislation that requires a person, firm, partnership, corporation or association that obtains a list for sending unsolicited advertisements must provide consumers the ability to opt out from further advertisements.