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SJR-15 Telecommunications: caller identification spoofing.(2007-2008)

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SJR15:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2007–2008 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Joint Resolution
No. 15


Introduced  by  Senator Florez

July 25, 2007


Relative to telecommunications.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SJR 15, as introduced, Florez. Telecommunications: caller identification spoofing.
This measure would urge the Congress and the President to enact the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2007, with amendments to authorize states to enact and enforce identical, or more strict, legislation to protect persons from caller identification spoofing, which is the transmission of false identifying information so that a false telephone number or identifying information is displayed to the person receiving the call.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, Many residential and commercial telephone service subscribers use telephone caller identification services or calling number identification, which transmits the caller’s telephone number so that it is displayed for the person receiving the call; and
WHEREAS, Caller identification “spoofing” is the transmission of false identifying information so that a false telephone number or identifying information is displayed to the person receiving the call; and
WHEREAS, In the past few years, caller identification spoofing has become much easier; and
WHEREAS, Millions of persons have Internet telephone equipment that utilizes voice-over Internet protocol to connect to the switched telephone network and their equipment can be set to make any telephone number appear on a caller identification system; and
WHEREAS, Several Internet Web sites have sprung up to provide caller identification spoofing services, eliminating the need for any hardware, including Spoofcard.com, which sells a virtual calling card that provides talk time that allows a user to dial a toll-free number and then key in a destination number and caller identification number to display; and
WHEREAS, The Spoofcard.com Internet Web site states that its service is “intended for entertainment purposes only”; and
WHEREAS, Caller identification spoofing has been used to perpetrate fraud, identity theft, harassment, stalking, pranks, and spying; and
WHEREAS, In some instances, some caller identification Internet sites have been used by persons who buy stolen credit card numbers to call Western Union, setting the caller identification to appear to originate from the cardholder’s home, and to use the credit card number to order cash transfers that they then pick up; and
WHEREAS, In one instance, a SWAT team surrounded an apartment building in New Brunswick, New Jersey, after police received a telephone call from a woman claiming she was being held hostage in an apartment and the caller’s identification had been spoofed to appear that the call came from an apartment in the building; and
WHEREAS, The House of Representatives has passed H. R. 251, the “Truth in Caller ID Act of 2007” and the bill is currently pending in the Senate; and
WHEREAS, The Truth in Caller ID Act of 2007 would make it unlawful for any person within the
United States, in connection with any telecommunications service or voice-over Internet protocal service, to cause any caller identification service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller identification information, with the intent to defraud or cause harm; and
WHEREAS, The Truth in Caller ID Act of 2007 is currently silent on what, if any, role the states would play in preventing caller identification spoofing; and
WHEREAS, Congress established the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the purpose of regulating interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio in order to make nationwide and worldwide service available, so far as possible, without discrimination and at reasonable charges (47 U.S.C. Sec. 151); and
WHEREAS, The regulation of telecommunications is a program of cooperative federalism where both the federal government and the states have their respective roles to promote an advanced communications network while both promoting and protecting consumer welfare; and
WHEREAS, In general terms, the FCC has authority over interstate common carrier communications by wire or radio, while the state utility commissions, in California the Public Utilities Commission, have responsibility over intrastate common carrier communications by wire or radio; and
WHEREAS, In the past, the FCC has preempted California’s attempts to regulate the use of caller identification (California v. FCC (9th Cir. 1996) 75 F.3d 1350, 1359-1361, upholding an FCC order preempting CPUC rule requiring blocking of caller identification information on certain telephone calls); and
WHEREAS, Additionally, the FCC has held that telecommunications over the Internet utilizing voice-over Internet protocol is inherently interstate activity and therefore under the exclusive regulatory domain of the FCC (Memorandum Opinion and Order, FCC 04-267, In the Matter of Vonage Holdings Corporation Petition for Declaratory Ruling Concerning an Order of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (2004) 19 FCC Rcd 22404); and
WHEREAS, Congress should act to halt caller identification spoofing, other than for legitimate law enforcement or national security purposes, and should authorize states to act to halt caller identification spoofing, consistent with national policy; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and the Assembly of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature of the State of California urges The Congress to enact, and the President to sign, the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2007, but the measure should be amended to authorize states to enact and enforce identical, or more strict, legislation to protect persons from caller identification spoofing; and be it further
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States.