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Caller ID Spoofing to be Made Illegal

By Patrick | June 29, 2007

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Just saw a very interesting article come across my RSS feed from Slashdot. Senate Bill S. 704 is currently being entertained in a Congressional subcommittee right now. This bill serves as an amendment to The Communications Act of 1934 that would make “manipulation of caller identification information” illegal. This means services like SpoofCard and FoneFaker would quickly become illegal. Illegal at a cost of up to $10,000 per violation.

This amendment was introduced in February of this year by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and is known as the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2007. The summary is as follows:

Truth in Caller ID Act of 2007 – Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to make it unlawful for any person in the United States, in connection with any telecommunications service or Internet protocol (IP)-enabled voice service, to cause any caller identification (ID) service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information, unless such transmission is exempted in connection with: (1) authorized activities of law enforcement agencies; or (2) a court order specifically authorizing the use of caller ID manipulation.

Provides civil and criminal penalties for violations. Allows for enforcement by states (with authorized intervention by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)).

While this piece of legislation isn’t a really big blow to privacy or a violation of our civil liberties or freedoms, it does raise a couple questions. If I block my Caller ID is that illegal? This could be good or bad considering who you talk to.

Also, why is the responsibility on the citizen as opposed to the telecommunications company that ALLOWS caller ID manipulation? What about the telecom carriers? Shouldn’t this bill be directed at them as well? While the end result would really be the same –no more spoofed caller ID– it would at least hold the telecom companies accountable. So now, just as we were teaching people to not always trust a person because of what shows up on their caller ID, that may be changing. People will go back to assuming caller ID is always accurate since the government has laws against manipulating it.

And finally, is this the best use of our federal government? Since I am huge proponent of smaller, limited government and favor state’s rights, this is yet another really pointless piece of legislation. As usual, it will keep the honest people honest, and the criminals will continue to spoof caller ID as they wish. It’s the way it always is and always will be.

What do you guys think? Is this a good piece of legislation or not? Does it even really matter?

Popularity: 9% [?]

Topics: Government | 1,838 Comments »

1,838 Responses to “Caller ID Spoofing to be Made Illegal”

  1. B Williams Says:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    Does this mean that people cannot use an alias or nickname for making calls from their own phone, to have some anonymity when placing a call? Who would police according to this draconian bill? What about mistakes, nicknames, etc., on one’s own phone–now a crime? The founding fathers and American patriots wrote to newspapers using aliases to make their ideas the main subject rather than their own persons to increase persuasion. Now newspapers require verified, legal names when publishing, and now this caller ID legislation would say you cannot use a nickname? Absurd and tyrannical!

  2. B Williams Says:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    Follow-up: Check the link for that Senate Bill, as it is dead. Is this State or Federal legislation? A quick search resulted in nothing by that code.

  3. privacy guy Says:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    B, if you’re referring to “pretexting” type practices I think there is legislation already in place attempting to make that illegal, if not already passed. And too, it is going to depend on your motive. If you’re just calling to make dinner reservations, using a pseudonym wouldn’t be an issue. However, if you’re calling pretending to BE someone else to gain information or access to something that is not yours or would be public to you, then that is wrong.

    As to who would police this legislation, I don’t think anyone would police it per se, it would be used more for a charge that prosecutors could use against suspects of harassing phone calls or social engineering/fraudulent calls. Or, just another infraction they can charge against someone, kind of like how they got Capone on tax evasion and not really on the heinous crimes he was known for.

    You bring up a great point regarding anonymity when writing to the newspaper. A person shouldn’t have to reveal his/her identity just to write an op-ed piece. I’ll have to investigate that to see how it applies locally to where I am.

    And yes, you are right – absolutely tyrannical!

  4. privacy guy Says:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    Oh and regarding the link, it still seems to work for me.

    And is a Federal Senate bill. Senate Bill 704.

    Here’s another link if indeed the first one is giving you problems.

  5. Barbara Austin Says:
    August 22nd, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    Think this is a great service; -hopefully the Bill will pass-as I’ll watch. Have been harassed by one of these “spoofCard holders ” for circa 3 years and I’ve had it.

    What I’ve done? I sit tight and let the idiot dig his hole. Have kept records of all the “unknown calls” made, especially at inopportune hours like 2-3am. That’s not a salesman. It’s a nut who has separation anxiety and I know him. He shacks with a Russian (big hint) and refused to provide his latest address. (I found it anyway, on a special search ‘engine’ provided by some fine cops. )
    I sold my stock in him before it tanked and he knew it. And he’s mad. Thank you for keeping us informed.

  6. Mikey Pooh Says:
    August 24th, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    WOE DUDE!?!? That is ridiculous. WTF is wrong with spoofing for entertainment amongst friends??!! Obviously, harassment and illegal activites that cause harm should be illegal with a spoof, but fun amongst friends??!?!

    The law needs to state that it is illegal when causing specific harm or in conjunction with another illegal act. RIDICULOUS!

  7. Spoof Says:
    September 6th, 2007 at 6:27 am

    check out caller id spoofing from the zero group. . . they are hosted offshore and rates are $10 cheaper then Spoof Card.

  8. DET Jason Says:
    September 13th, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    Im sorry for anyone harrassed by call spoofing but chances are those jerks will find another way to do such things! Many good people use this service to get their teen age kids to answer their cell phones and keep tabs on their kids. Soon gps tracking of your children will be illegal! Its a waste of time and money making such laws, i agree with what was said above the criminals will hide their ID’s and bother people via phone in new ways, while the innocent people using it for good reasons suffer!

    Look at the big picture! Pluse with the war and all the other messes the government has to deal with, why is this such a concern? Is Bush getting fake phone calls from someone?

  9. T Says:
    September 20th, 2007 at 9:43 am

    i think this is a great idea. some of us out there who have some debts we need to pay get bothered by collectors who seem to think that we have forgot and wont pay them. calling us 15 times a day and threatening us doesn’t make the money appear. so basically the phone calls themselves are a harassing bother. the caller id says unknown. or simply doesn’t show anything at all. i would welcome a change in the law saying they have to disclose who is calling so i can decide whether or not to answer. i give props to this law.

  10. T Says:
    September 20th, 2007 at 9:45 am

    o and a second note to that. i have paid most of my debts off, and it had NOTHING to do with the phone calls or how many times they called me.
    so dont respond to my comments by going that route. its simply a form of harassment by calling that much and hiding who you are / plain and simple

  11. kevin Says:
    February 8th, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    I have to say I can’t stand this spoofing. Somebody has been spoofing using MY number…which has lead me to receive calls Day and Night all asking the same thing “did somebody just call me from this number?”

    I hope this bill passes.

  12. Spoofed Victim Says:
    September 15th, 2008 at 5:12 am

    I also have been the victim of spoofing. I’m not sure if this bill is correct. People using this type of service for legitimate reasons is one thing but, how can one determine the reason for someone using this service?

    In order to keep people from being victimized, I think it best if this bill is passed. The question is, whill it be enforced? and, How?

  13. Patrick Says:
    September 23rd, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    So what’s the latest on this? Personally I find it slightly preposterous. I used to spoof on a semi-daily basis when I was a private investigator. Legally, you can be anyone you want as long as you aren’t impersonating law enforcement. Sometimes blocked numbers won’t do, some people have privacy director. I used to make spoof calls and have the ID display prefixes that didn’t exist. There should also be a difference between method and intent. I never intended to obtain sensitive information (I usually already had it). It was a tool used merely to confirm their presence. Spoofing to pretend to be an insurance or credit card company is obviously wrong. It falls under fraud, so why punish spoofing if it has legitimate uses?

  14. Edward Caffray Says:
    October 8th, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    I agree with Patrick. Spoofing caller id is an invaluable tool for Private investigators, skip tracers and the police. More info: http//

  15. Edward Caffray Says:
    October 8th, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Opps the address should be :

  16. MIke Hellena Says:
    February 20th, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    The Zero Group is back up yea! Other caller id spoofing services cannot contend to offshore anonymous caller id spoofing.

  17. Person Says:
    March 31st, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    So wait it is completley illegal for someone to use caller id spoofing?

  18. Mark Says:
    December 28th, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Personally I’m tired of getting sales calls (or whatever else) that are straight from India or Malaysia but have a local area code. 90% of the people currently spoofing are doing so for nefarious reasons. This bill will at least give people a leg to stand on when being harassed by various companies using shady means to get into touch with people. Especially in such a bad economy, there is still a fine line between collections and harassment when dealing with credit agencies. I think its time for companies to be a little more honest in their approach to using the telephone system.

  19. fran Says:
    February 27th, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    I am right now victim of a person calling me with 800 numbers or out of state area codes to ring my phone and then hang up. This has been going on for the past year and I have about 40 phone numbers that I have kept track of. He tries to get in when my phone is not busy. He keeps trying and finally does. I got a lucky break when I found this 800 number being used several times in a row. I decided to call it back and waa la it was a collection agency (I have never owed a debit)and he asked me if I knew this person who they are trying to collect a debt from I of course said no. It turned out the spoofing guy sent my number to the collection agency to get him off the track. The bell went off that this is the guy calling me (what luck). I have since contacted the FCC with a two page letter with all the numbers and they have taken it from there.

    I have not received one phone call from this spoofer so I guess they have the police visiting him now.

  20. Songbird Says:
    July 7th, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    I am on the side of making it illegal. We’ve been harrassed for years by a certain person or persons also with separation anxiety. Constant calls. It’s annoying and really what’s the point? I am seeing alot of similiar stories on here. There is to many people who use it for the wrong reasons. I’d be perfectly happy to see it illegal.

  21. csppegasas Says:
    July 13th, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I am right now a victim of spoofing! Someone has gotten my phone number and is using it to harass
    other people in my area. It shows up as Service Call and my # on their ID. I have received many many calls asking why I’m calling them. As I run a business out of my home I have to answer and try to explain to these people that I did not make the call.
    I have called the phone company and have been told that as long as it is legal there is NOTHING that can be done short of changing my number.
    I’m all for making it illegal!!!!
    I’d love to lock up whoever has my number forever!!!!