By Patrick | June 29, 2007
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?
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