Consumers, hide your cell phones!

A couple of weeks ago, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing on HR 3035 the Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011 – a dangerous bill that would open up cell phones to robocall.  We’ve already said that the bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  But, the name is a great misnomer and we here at the National Association of Consumer Advocates have been wondering what to call it:

•    The Robocall Act of 2011
•    The Invasion of Privacy Act of 2011
•    Cell Phone Debt Collection Abuse Act
•    The Robocall Hell Act

What do you think?  The picture and the main point is that the name of the bill ought to match the reality that will come in the form of 10 calls per second ambush calling that will unleashed on consumer cell phones if this bill passes.  NACA is joined by a number of other consumer advocates and privacy organizations who also oppose the bill.  And, across the states attorneys generals are banding together to fight this horrid legislation.

Of late, it also seems that the press is catching on and is also reflecting consumer sentiment that this is simply a bad idea.  There has been a great deal of press coverage on the bill and media interest in the is picking up.  Here are a few examples of recent coverage of the bill:

http://www.npr.org/2011/11/14/142315015/bill-would-leave-cell-phones-open-to-robocalls

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/business/rewriting-the-law-on-automated-cellphone-calls.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=robocalls&st=cse

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-tech/post/house-discusses-mobile-telemarketing-bill/2011/11/04/gIQA7siInM_blog.html?wprss=post-tech

For more press clips

Here’s how you can help make sure your cell phone isn’t opened up to robocalls!

Since the hearing the National Association of Consumer Advocates continues to be in conversation with the bill sponsors and other House staff to reiterate our concerns that this is a harmful bill and that the bill is not necessary.  While these conversations are important, there are some ongoing initiatives will which help increase public awareness of this bill and help deliver a consistent message to Congress.  Take a minute now, through the links below, to sign one or all of the petitions below and let members of Congress know this bill is harmful! If you have a client distribution list, please consider sharing with them the following online petitions which have been created by organizations like Moveon.org and freepress.org.  These petitions allow individuals to send a message directly to Congress:

•    https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr3035
•    http://pol.moveon.org/norobocalls/?id=32746-10220574-R7EtMhx&t=3
•    http://act2.freepress.net/sign/robocalls_HR3035/

One thing is certain, consumers won’t just stand by and watch their cell phone minutes increase.  A new tool has recently been launched to give robocall makers a sense of what robocalling is like for consumers.

If you don’t want to sign a petition, help us re-brand this bill!  As we all know, sometimes it is helpful to rebrand things in order to make your message ring clear.  What should we call this bill?  Ideas we have so far are:

•    Robocall Hell Act?

•    Cell Phone Bill of No Rights Act?

•    Robocall Invasion 2011??

Do you have any suggestions?  If so, please let us know by emailing Legislativeunit@naca.net!  As we continue to talk to the press and members of Congress about this, it would be great if a more consumer friendly brand began to be used.

Thanks sincerely for all that you do every day for consumers!

NACA’s Legislative Unit