Exploring the FCC regulations around robocalls technologies


After the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) updated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in December 2023 to close the “lead generator loophole,” many in the lead-gen ecosystem were left with more questions than answers. As more TCPA updates landed in the weeks after (e.g. use of AI, consent revocation), businesses began to panic. However, this is not a time to panic, but a time to prepare, and our FCC webinar series is here to help. 

While the new rulings may seem intimidating and confusing, our webinar series will help keep your business at the forefront of compliance as our panel aims to add clarity to the undefined world of the FCC regulations for use of robocalls and robotext technologies.

In the fourth episode of our FCC-centric webinar series, ActiveProspect’s Director of Privacy, Security, and Compliance, Benjamin Farrar, was joined by Troutman Amin Partner, Puja Amin, and Convoso Compliance Officer, Tammy Glover Fowler, to discuss the latest TCPA updates centered around robocalls, robotexts, and revocation.

As the updated ruling takes shape over the next year before going into full effect in January 2025, businesses are advised to reassess their risk profiles and take action to prepare for the new regulatory landscape. The journey of adjusting to these new FCC regulations has truly just begun, and it’s time to stay alert, informed, and proactive in making strategic decisions.

FCC robocall technologies: what they are and main regulations

According to the FCC, FCC robocall technologies are phone calls or texts that use Automatic Telephone Dialing System (ATDS) to deliver pre-recorded messages to a large number of recipients. These calls are typically used for various purposes such as marketing, political campaigns, public service announcements, and debt collection.

Here are the key characteristics of FCC robocall technologies:

  • Automated dialing: The calls are placed using auto-dialing software that can make thousands of calls per minute.
  • Pre-recorded messages: Instead of a live person, the recipient hears a pre-recorded message.
  • Wide range of uses: They can be used for legitimate purposes, such as reminders and alerts, or for fraudulent activities like scams and phishing attempts.

Main FCC robocall technologies regulations

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has implemented several regulations to control the use of robocalls and protect consumers from unwanted and intrusive calls. The main FCC robocall regulations include:

  • Consent requirements: Telemarketers must obtain prior express written consent from recipients before making robocalls to wireless numbers or residential lines using an auto-dialer or pre-recorded voice message.
  • Do Not Call (DNC) registry: Telemarketers are prohibited from calling numbers listed on the national DNC registry. Consumers can register their numbers to avoid telemarketing calls. There are also state DNC registries that need to be checked for compliance.   
  • Calling hours: Telemarketing robocalls are only allowed between 8 AM and 9 PM (local time of the recipient). There are also different state allowance and restrictions in calling hours.
  • Opt-out mechanism: Robocalls must provide an automated, interactive opt-out mechanism during the call that allows recipients to immediately opt out of receiving additional calls.
  • Caller ID spoofing: Prohibits the use of misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongly obtain anything of value. This includes practices where robocallers manipulate caller ID information to appear as if the call is coming from a local number or a trusted source.
  • Call blocking: The FCC encourages and permits phone service providers to block calls that are likely to be illegal, such as those originating from invalid numbers, unallocated numbers, or numbers on the Do Not Originate (DNO) list.
  • Call labeling: Providers are also encouraged to label calls that may be suspicious or likely to be robocalls, helping consumers identify potential scam calls.
  • Emergency purposes: Certain robocalls are exempt from some of these regulations, such as those made for emergency purposes, including notifications about health and safety issues, weather alerts, and other urgent information from government entities or healthcare providers.

These regulations aim to balance the utility of robocalls for legitimate purposes while protecting consumers from unwanted and potentially harmful calls.

How AI is impacting FCC robocalls technologies

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has significantly influenced the evolution of robocalls, making them more sophisticated and challenging to regulate. The main ways AI is used in robocalls include:

  • Data analysis: AI algorithms analyze vast amounts of data to identify potential targets more effectively. This can include analyzing social media, purchasing behaviors, and other online activities to tailor the robocall’s message to the recipient.
  • Voice synthesis: AI-generated voices can sound more natural and human-like, enhancing the effectiveness of the robocall.
  • Automated dialing: AI improves the efficiency of automated dialing systems, optimizing call times and frequencies to maximize contact rates.
  • Predictive dialing: AI predictive dialers can anticipate when a human agent will be available to take a call, reducing idle times and increasing productivity.

However, the integration of AI into FCC robocall technology presents several challenges, including:

  • Enhanced deception: AI’s ability to create more convincing and interactive robocalls increases the risk of successful scams.
  • Identifying violations: As AI-driven robocalls become more advanced, distinguishing between legitimate and illegal calls becomes more complex. 
  • Enhanced detection tools: Regulators may need to employ AI and machine learning tools themselves to detect and prevent illegal robocalls. This includes developing algorithms to identify patterns and anomalies indicative of AI-driven robocalling campaigns.
  • Stronger penalties: To deter the use of AI in illegal robocalling, the FCC may need to impose harsher penalties and increase enforcement actions against violators.

In summary, while AI enhances the effectiveness and reach of robocalls, it also poses significant challenges for regulation and enforcement. Follow US state and national regulations that are addressing AI uses. The important thing when it comes to lead generation is to include notice and consent that AI generative technologies are being used.

Watch the entire webinar here

Episode 4 highlights


Tammy Glover Fowler: “Hello, thanks for having me. So, I’ve been working in the telemarketing space, legal and regulatory compliance for over 17 years. Most of that time was spent in the telemarketing space –10 years of those. I started Convoso’s compliance department over two years ago and my oversight is with TCPA, TSR, [and] state regulation. Prior to Convoso, I worked for Bridgestone America’s law department as a compliance specialist and as a compliance bank auditor… And then prior to that, in my telemarketing space, I worked for a large telemarketing company in Ohio who had brick-and-mortar call centers all over the state –35 to 40– so I managed compliance for all of those centers.”

Puja Amin: “Hi. I am Queenie of TCPA World… Puja Amin of Troutman Amin, LLP, and I’m also a board member of R.E.A.C.H., Responsible Enterprises Against Consumer Harassment… I am a TCPA defense class action attorney and compliance guru, if you will, in the TCPA space and the privacy space. My partner, Eric J. Troutman, The Czar, and I built this firm to really focus on TCPA class litigation to help companies and brands and call centers all across the country, to help them be compliant with all these ticky-tack rules that you’re about to hear about today.”

Tammy Glover Fowler on the grey area of “logical and topical”

“To go back to what Puja was talking about ‘logically and topically,’ you know, [the FCC] did not define that because it’s almost impossible. You know, how can you even provide definitions for that? That’s something that’s just going to have to be argued in the end. You know, I’m not seeing telemarketing regulations defined with such distinctiveness unless it’s like, number of months or number of years, or record-keeping requirements, things like that, but logically and topically, that’s just too difficult.”

Puja Amin on the FCC’s recent TCPA revocation update 

“Everyone’s very focused on the 1-to-1 consent rules, which they should be and they ought to be, but these new revocation rules are just massive. And I’m not hearing enough folks talk about this and that’s scary. I remember I walked into The Czar’s [Eric Troutman] office just a few weeks ago, and I was like, ‘You keep talking about this 1-to-1 consent ruling… But to me, the biggest piece right now is the informational marketing opt-out dynamics that are going to take place here.’”

Benjamin Farrar on the opportunity for future improvement

“…From a compliance officer, compliance view perspective, I mean, all of this is to try to be optimistic. It’s an opportunity to take a look at your business models and see where you could improve, provide more transparency, and think from the consumer. So it’s gonna force that and, of course, make sure you have great legal counsel aware for those hard-to-answer questions. Some of them may be easier than you think, but it’s great to have those advocates who can answer those quickly for those things to help control the risk that you might be facing in the lead generation and call center space.”

Helpful Resources

  1. Learn more about the highest standard for independent proof of consent.
  2. Discover Ping Pick Post, our proposed solution for the new regulatory landscape.
  3. Prepare your business for January 2025.

ActiveProspect is committed to being a guiding force in the lead-gen space as we navigate the evolving regulatory landscape together. Be sure to be on the lookout for our next FCC-centric webinar coming in March.