At the FCC’s open meeting on February 14, 2019, the five FCC commissioners voted unanimously to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to modify the Commission’s Truth-in-Caller-ID rules pursuant to amendments to the Communications Act adopted by Congress as part of the RAY BAUM’s Act of 2017. In particular, the FCC proposes to extend its caller ID spoofing rules to apply to communications originating from outside the United States, and expand the scope of “covered communications” under those rules to include alternative voice and text messaging services. Additionally, the FCC proposes to amend several definitions under its rules, including to re-define “text message” as “a message consisting of text, images, sounds, or other information that is transmitted to or from a device that is identified as the receiving or transmitting device by means of a 10-digit telephone number or N11 service code.” The proposed rule expressly includes SMS and MMS messages in this definition, and expressly excludes “(i) a real-time, two-way voice or video communication; or (ii) a message sent over an IP-enabled messaging service to another user of the same messaging service, except [an SMS or MMS message].”

In her statement accompanying the NPRM, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel was critical of the FCC’s pace of enforcement on robocalls and called for the FCC to create a Robocall Division in the Enforcement Bureau.

Comments on the NPRM will be due 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register, and reply comments will be due after an additional 30 days.