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National 'Do Not Call' Registry Is Working, FTC Says

Commission pats itself on the back, but marketers and consumers are still holding the phone

Ignore that ringing phone in your house -- the National "Do Not Call" Registry is working well, the Federal Trade Commission said today.

In a report filed this morning, the FTC said the "Do Not Call" list is "by every available measure, an effective consumer protection initiative." The Commission has called for the 145 million telephone numbers in the database to be registered permanently, rather than limited to five years as was previously proposed.

"The Commission believes that the fundamental goal of the National Registry -- to provide consumers with a simple, free, and effective means to limit unwanted telemarketing calls -- has been achieved," the report states.

But marketers and consumers are not quite so convinced. In a statement last month, the Direct Marketing Association registered concern that the information in the database is not accurate.

“Congress was very concerned that the National Do Not Call Registry be accurate — a goal that is even more vital now that consumers' numbers remain on the registry permanently, rather than for five years,” said Jerry Cerasale, senior vice president of government affairs for the DMA. "According to data that DMA members have provided, the registry is far from accurate." The FTC is reviewing procedures to improve accuracy, he said.

In a Harris Interactive poll conducted last year, 73 percent of consumers who have signed up for the Registry said they still receive some telemarketing calls. However, the vast majority said they are receiving fewer calls than they did prior to signing up.

The FTC says it has filed a total of 25 cases alleging violations of the Registry, and reached settlements in 22 of them. In 13 of the cases, defendants paid civil penalties totaling more than $8.7 million. In the remaining cases, defendants paid redress totaling more than $8.4 million.

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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

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