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
Virginia a Hot Spot For Cybersecurity Jobs
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  10/9/2019
How to Think Like a Hacker
Dr. Giovanni Vigna, Chief Technology Officer at Lastline,  10/10/2019
7 SMB Security Tips That Will Keep Your Company Safe
Steve Zurier, Contributing Writer,  10/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
2019 Online Malware and Threats
2019 Online Malware and Threats
As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-16
A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in admin/translate/translateheader_view.php in LimeSurvey 3.19.1 and earlier allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the tolang parameter, as demonstrated by the index.php/admin/translate/sa/index/surveyid/336819/lang/ PATH_INFO.
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-16
Pivotal RabbitMQ, versions prior to v3.7.18, and RabbitMQ for PCF, versions 1.15.x prior to 1.15.13, versions 1.16.x prior to 1.16.6, and versions 1.17.x prior to 1.17.3, contain two components, the virtual host limits page, and the federation management UI, which do not properly sanitize user input...
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-16
The broken-link-checker plugin through 1.11.8 for WordPress (aka Broken Link Checker) is susceptible to Reflected XSS due to improper encoding and insertion of an HTTP GET parameter into HTML. The filter function on the page listing all detected broken links can be exploited by providing an XSS payl...
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-16
The eu-cookie-law plugin through 3.0.6 for WordPress (aka EU Cookie Law (GDPR)) is susceptible to Stored XSS due to improper encoding of several configuration options in the admin area and the displayed cookie consent message. This affects Font Color, Background Color, and the Disable Cookie text. A...
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-16
The events-manager plugin through 5.9.5 for WordPress (aka Events Manager) is susceptible to Stored XSS due to improper encoding and insertion of data provided to the attribute map_style of shortcodes (locations_map and events_map) provided by the plugin.