Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dear President Obama (and Senators and Congressman)

Thinking this is a letter I will write.

Dear (President Obama, Senator, Congressman)

If it were up to me there wouldn't be telemarketers. That being an improbability, I propose that regulations relating to telemarketing be more restrictive, that more stringent regulations be in place for the sale of private information (lists), and that spoofing laws be stricter.

Telemarketers should not only have to have caller ID enabled, but it should have to include a main number that can be called by the receiver. The purpose of this is to allow people to opt out of internal company lists. This number should have to be displayed on all calls, be able to receive calls, and when called be transferable to a real person. My second proposal is that on request all telemarketers shall be required by law to give the legal business name and business address of the company they work for, not who they are calling for. This enables citizens to pursue complaints against the telemarketers with the FCC and their respective state Attorney Generals. If the telemarketing company calls for more than one customer, then upon request to be removed from the internal list, the request should encompass all calls the telemarketing company makes, not the list for one specific customer.

I have no idea why the sale of names, address, email and phone number is legal, but since once again, outlawing the sale of such in it's entirety is highly improbable, I do propose that companies who offer information for sale must meet specific requirements. The opt in option for the sale of your information should be clearly stated and separate from general terms of use agreements that individuals must agree to to join certain sites on the internet. For businesses who sell their customer lists, the customer must have signed an agreement to participate before the name can be sold. These changes give individuals an informed consent that their private information will be sold, and allows us the choice to proceed or not. By separating the consent from other agreements, the individual is more acutely aware that their information will be sold.

Spoofing, whether it entails email, internet IP address or caller ID/phone information is concerning. It is also difficult to trace. I propose that the United States government look into ways to crack down on the use of hacking and spoofing of email and IP addresses. As for the use of spoofing of caller ID, I propose that the current law, which defines the act of spoofing as illegal only when intent to harm is present be changed to intent to deceive. The use of spoofing by law enforcement agencies should be allowed and regulated in the same manner as wire tapping would be, but the use of spoofing by individuals and companies to hide their identity should be outlawed. If the United States requires caller ID for telemarketing, then the caller ID must be a valid one.

Companies who sell the technology to spoof should be declared illegal. Victims of identity theft, in which their name and phone number has been used to spoof phone calls, should have a regulatory agency to report this to, and have the realistic expectation that the matter will be investigated and perpetrator will be punished. The concern about the use of domestic violence victims using spoofing to hide their phone number, thus the necessity to allow spoofing to be legal seems to have protected a few, and violated the rights of many. The ability to block caller ID is a technology that can protect domestic violence victims without subjecting the American public to fraudulent and deceptive business practices used by telemarketing companies who utilize spoofing.

 The intention of the companies who utilize spoofing is to get the person on the other end to answer. Since the majority of telemarketing is in the hopes of producing a sale, by definition this is fraud. The definition of fraud is wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain. A sale is financial gain. Hiding their number is deception. Why it is considered legal baffles me. Fraud is illegal in any other form, why is it not here?

I realize that telemarketing is part of our economy, and provides jobs for thousands of Americans, but because of it's intrusive nature, the American citizen has the right to expect some protection and regulation from the United States Government.

A Citizen on a Soap Box

1 comment:

  1. Letter sent to both Senators, my Congressman and the President. If you feel this issue is valid, why don't you send one too.