FCC advances proposal to unmask blocked caller ID in threat cases

FCC advances proposal to unmask blocked caller ID in threat cases
© Greg Nash

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to move forward with a proposal to allow law enforcement to access blocked caller ID information in the case of threatening calls.

The proposed rule comes after Jewish community centers (JCC) across the country were hit with anonymous threats.

“Months of investigation yielded few results,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said at the agency’s monthly meeting. “Law enforcement officers were unable to identify the callers partly because of one of our rules. That rule requires carriers to honor a customer’s request that his or her telephone number not be transmitted or otherwise revealed to the party called, which prevents third parties, including law enforcement, from figuring out who’s calling."

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At the request of Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerData confirm that marijuana decriminalization is long overdue Pollster: Kavanaugh will get Dem votes Democrats slam Trump for considering Putin’s ’absurd’ request to question Americans MORE (D-N.Y.), the FCC in March approved a temporary waiver of agency rules to allow law enforcement to unmask the caller IDs of the anonymous callers in those specific cases.

The proposal, which was advanced unanimously on Thursday, would extend that exemption to law enforcement whenever it investigates a threatening call.

The rule would define a threatening call as any call that “includes a threat of serious and imminent unlawful action posing a substantial risk to property, life, safety, or health.”

The FCC’s temporary waiver for law enforcement investigating the JCC threats will remain in place as the proposed rule moves forward.

Thursday’s vote opens the item up to a period of public comment before it is advanced.