Yesterday the US Congress passed the Truth in Caller ID Act, designed to curtail deceptive Caller ID spoofing. The substance of the law is this short paragraph:
“It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States, in connection with any real time voice communications service, regardless of the technology or network utilized, to cause any caller ID service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information, with the intent to defraud or deceive.”
The law very broadly defines Caller ID, and then goes on to provide exemptions for Caller-ID blocking, and law enforcement professionals.
Critics have said that this law will prevent all kinds of uses of Caller ID that may be legitimate – for instance, corporations choosing to present a main dialling number rather than the numbers of individual PBX extensions. It seems to me, however, that a loophole has been presented in the language of this bill. Specifically, the bill outlaws Caller ID spoofing “with the intent to defraud or deceive.” Clearly there is nothing fraudulent or deceptive in presenting a business’ main calling number when a customer service representative calls. Arguably the business is providing a better service, and certainly it allows them to more easily manage the call center when an employee leaves.
What do you think?