Senator Alesi Legislation To Stop Deceptive Caller Identification Technology

James S. Alesi

June 27, 2005

Senator Jim Alesi (R/C-Perinton), who sponsored the original Do-Not-Call List in 1998, today announced the State Senate passed legislation that would prevent individuals from fraudulently impersonating others on a caller ID. This proposal seeks to maintain the value of the Do-Not-Call registry and to ensure the privacy of those who are on the registry or have caller ID.

"New technology threatens the integrity of the Do-Not-Call registry and puts citizens at risk of being victims of fraudulent phone calls," said Senator Alesi. "This legislation would prevent persons from using caller identification technology, or other similar methods, to "spoof," or purposely deceive the public, by masking their identity on caller Ids."

Originally, this technology was created to assist bill collectors and law enforcement agencies reach people who use caller ID to avoid such phone calls however, problems arise in the inevitable criminal usage of the technology. Yet, caller identification spoofing can trick innocent people into answering their phone under the assumption that they are receiving a call from a number other than the actual caller, and in certain instances, a number they would recognize as familiar.

This measure, Senate bill S.1075-A, will deter identity thieves who may purposely disguise themselves as legitimate credit card companies to obtain someone’s confidential information. This bill will also prevent telemarketers that are subject to restrictions of the Do-Not-Call registry from circumventing the highly-successful database and will thwart criminals who can use this technology to impede police investigations by creating a false record of phone calls incriminating unsuspecting citizens.

Experts in the telecommunications industry believe that caller identification spoofing technology is simple enough to develop and it is only a matter of time before other service providers make it readily available.

"This very intrusive and extremely dangerous technology must be stopped now," said Senator Alesi. "It is vitally important to protect consumers from an instance in which a credit card company or a private investigator can use your mother’s number to shield their number on a caller ID box. If this technology goes unchecked, the sanctity of the Do-Not-Call registry and the validity of caller ID will decrease substantially, while deception of the public will rise."