Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Is This the End of the Pre-Recorded Telemarketing Call?

New FTC rules redefine consumers' privacy rights

The Federal Trade Commission today put telemarketers on notice: spamming consumers' phones won't be allowed anymore.

In an amendment to the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the FTC outlawed several automated practices that have become common in direct marketing, including the use of prerecorded sales messages without the written consent of the target customer.

"Just like the provisions of the Do Not Call Registry, these changes will protect consumers' privacy," said FTC Chairman William Kovacic. "The amendments now directly enable consumers to choose whether they want to receive prerecorded telemarketing calls."

The amendments will not affect calls that deliver purely "informational" prerecorded messages, such as notifying a consumer that their flight has been canceled or that they have a service appointment. Such purely "informational" calls are not covered by the TSR because they don't attempt to sell any goods or services. Charities will also be able to make prerecorded calls to members or previous donors.

According to the new rules, by December 2008, sellers and telemarketers must provide an automated keypress or voice-activated interactive opt-out mechanism at the outset of each call.

The prerecorded call amendment requires that any prerecorded telemarketing call must allow the telephone to ring for at least 15 seconds or four rings before an unanswered call is disconnected. It must begin the prerecorded message within two seconds of a completed greeting by the consumer who answers. And it must disclose at the outset of the call that the recipient may ask to be placed on the company's do-not-call list at any time during the message.

In addition, the new rules state that telemarketing calls must give the called party the option to be added to the telemarketer's do-not-call list, and then immediately end the call. If the call goes into a voice mailbox, the system must provide a toll-free number that allows the consumer to be added to the telemarketer's do-not-call list.

The new rules also regulate the use of "predictive dialers" in telemarketing. These automated systems send out calls on behalf of live salespeople, but a call will sometimes connect when no sales representative is available. The TSR now requires that at least 97 percent of a telemarketer's calls that are answered in person -- not by an answering machine -- be connected to a salesperson within two seconds after a consumer answers. This is designed to minimize the number of "dead air" and "hang-up" calls that result when no salesperson is available to take the call.

The amendment that requires permission from consumers to receive pre-recorded calls will become effective Sept. 1, 2009. The amendment regarding predictive dialers will become effective on Oct. 1 of this year.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Data Leak Week: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/10/2019
Intel Issues Fix for 'Plundervolt' SGX Flaw
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
There is an improper authentication vulnerability in Huawei smartphones (Y9, Honor 8X, Honor 9 Lite, Honor 9i, Y6 Pro). The applock does not perform a sufficient authentication in a rare condition. Successful exploit could allow the attacker to use the application locked by applock in an instant.
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
Some Huawei smart phones have a null pointer dereference vulnerability. An attacker crafts specific packets and sends to the affected product to exploit this vulnerability. Successful exploitation may cause the affected phone to be abnormal.
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
There is an information disclosure vulnerability in certain Huawei smartphones (Mate 10;Mate 10 Pro;Honor V10;Changxiang 7S;P-smart;Changxiang 8 Plus;Y9 2018;Honor 9 Lite;Honor 9i;Mate 9). The software does not properly handle certain information of applications locked by applock in a rare condition...
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Huawei CloudUSM-EUA V600R006C10;V600R019C00 have an information leak vulnerability. Due to improper configuration, the attacker may cause information leak by successful exploitation.
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Certain Huawei products (AP2000;IPS Module;NGFW Module;NIP6300;NIP6600;NIP6800;S5700;SVN5600;SVN5800;SVN5800-C;SeMG9811;Secospace AntiDDoS8000;Secospace USG6300;Secospace USG6500;Secospace USG6600;USG6000V;eSpace U1981) have an out-of-bounds read vulnerability. An attacker who logs in to the board m...