Bloomberg Law: Privacy & Data Security brings you single-source access to the expertise of Bloomberg Law’s privacy and data security editorial team, contributing practitioners,...
Oct. 18 — Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald J. Trump (R) are ramping up efforts to collect donations and voter support through increased robocalls as election day fast approaches.
Across the board, political robocalls are up 64 percent since the beginning of the year, according to a report released Oct. 18 by caller identification application Hiya Media Inc.
Troy Lieberman, litigation associate at Nixon Peabody LLP in Boston and co-leader of the firm's Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) team, told Bloomberg BNA Oct. 18 that “it's not surprising to see an increase in robocalls especially as we get closer to election day.” Many political campaigns regularly use “autodialed and prerecorded calls” for political contributions and voter support, he said.
Political robocalls are governed under the TCPA, 47 U.S.C. §227, and its implementing rules that establish statutory damages up to $1,500 per willful violation. But, political calls are “typically treated like informational calls, as opposed to telemarketing calls, which have more stringent requirements,” Lieberman said.
Political calls to landlines are permissible “as long as the caller provides the necessary requirements” but aren't allowed to mobile devices unless there is “prior express consent from the caller,” he said. “This is where most campaigns may run into trouble.”
In the lead up to the election, political candidates up and down the ballot should heed caution when making automated phone calls without affirming that the voters' contact information was obtained legitimately. Failure to do so may lead to potential costly litigation and regulatory enforcement actions.
Additionally, Trump has outpaced “Clinton by 388 percent” in political robocalls over the same time period, the report said.
Lieberman said that the increase in robocalls “is just the nature of elections and advancing technology.” Continued advancement in robocall technology may make political call centers cheaper to operate, he said.
For example, Clinton has used the Megaphone application to reach potential voters and contributors. Megaphone and similar apps allow a user to send individual text messages to a long list of recipients in a short amount of time.
Applications like Megaphone and other advancements in autodialing technology “likely plays a role in an increase in” robocalls this year, Lieberman said.
The increase in campaign calls, however, doesn't reflect the candidate's ability to attract voter contributions. According to Federal Election Commission data, through Aug. 31 Clinton has received more political contributions compared to Trump—$373.3 million to $165.9 million respectively.
Although many of the calls were legitimate and fell within protections under the TCPA, many consumers received political spam calls from malicious actors.
Since January 2016, political scam calls have increased 614 percent. Many of the scams focused on voter registration, campaign donation, election survey scams, the report said.
In addition to a private right of action under the TCPA, “the FCC can initiate enforcement actions for violations,” Lieberman said. “The FCC is aware and monitoring political robocalls,” he said.
The Clinton and Trump campaigns didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg BNA’s e-mail requests for comments.
To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel R. Stoller in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)