March 7, 2024

ICO UK and the FCC Join Forces Against International Robocalls

FCC and ICO UK join forces to combat global robocalls. Stay compliant, protect consumer privacy, and uphold communication standards.

ICO UK and the FCC Join Forces Against International Robocalls

In a landmark move on February 29, 2024, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO UK) of the United Kingdom signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlining the parameters of a formal partnership between the two agencies in combatting the misuse of their respective communications networks, including the transmission of illegal robocalls and texts across national borders, and the protection of consumer privacy and sensitive data.

What is the ICO UK?

While roughly equivalent to the regulatory role played by the FCC in the United States with respect to communications, the mission of the ICO UK is somewhat broader in that it addresses the use of information, including how consumer data is collected, stored, and used. Among other things, the ICO is responsible for enforcing the UK’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), so in many respects its mission overlaps that of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States.

Shared Priorities Between the FCC and ICO UK

The MOU is the first of its kind and highlights the shared enforcement priorities between the two agencies, which include:

  • Risks stemming from the misuse of communication networks.
  • Exploitation of private and/or sensitive consumer data.
  • Threats posed by cybercriminals and national adversaries.
  • Challenges related to cross-border issues.

The MOU describes a unique strategic partnership that is expected to allow both the FCC and ICO UK to carry out their respective missions more efficiently and effectively in an ever-evolving landscape in which personal data is becoming increasingly vulnerable and have pledged to collaborate on various fronts to safeguard consumers.

FCC chairwoman Rosenworcel emphasized the importance of protecting consumers' privacy and against illegal robocall and text scams, underscoring the strategic value of partnerships like the one forged with ICO UK.

Similarly, UK Information Commissioner Edwards highlighted the global nature of privacy concerns and expressed optimism about the enhanced collaboration between the two agencies in safeguarding individuals from data misuse.

FCC and ICO UK Join Forces Against International Robocalls, international handshake, global handshake, business handshake

A Landmark Initiative

The collaboration between the FCC and ICO UK reflects new international cooperation to protect consumer privacy and sensitive data. As consumers share vast amounts of personal information with telecommunication carriers operating across complex networks transcending national borders, it will likely lead to other joint efforts between international partners to combat the threats posed by cybercriminals and adversaries.

This development comes on the heels of the FCC's recent measures to restrict unsolicited robocalls made with AI-generated voices under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), further highlighting the agencies' commitment to addressing emerging challenges in consumer protection.

Moving forward, the FCC and ICO UK seek to advance an international approach to combat against those involved in unsolicited telemarketing activities, illegal scam robocalls and text message scams.

The partnership represents a significant milestone for the FCC's Privacy and Data Protection Task Force, established by Chairwoman Rosenworcel to spearhead the agency's efforts in privacy and data protection issues. The task force focuses on rulemaking, enforcement, and public awareness initiatives to address privacy threats such as SIM swapping scams, port-out fraud, and data breaches.

A New Era

The execution of the MoU likely represents the dawn of a new era in the struggle against scams perpetuated through robocalls and texts sent across international borders.

Companies engaged in international telemarketing must take heed, ensuring their practices are lawful and compliant with regulations to avoid becoming prime targets for enforcement actions by these joint forces. As the FCC and ICOUK lead the charge against unsolicited communications, companies must prioritize adherence to regulations governing commercial messaging and caller ID accuracy.

The partnership not only underscores the commitment of regulatory bodies to consumer protection but also highlights the necessity for companies to operate responsibly in an interconnected world. By upholding privacy standards and lawful communication practices, companies can contribute to the broader effort to safeguard consumer privacy and maintain the integrity of global communication networks.

Put an End to Spam Flags

Don’t let spam flags ruin your hard-earned trust and reputation. Here’s how you can reclaim control of your caller ID and make sure your customers pick up your calls.

Start My Free Trial
star rating
Trusted by 150+ Companies
Group Star
"As a medical laboratory, we couldn't reach our patients. I never imagined that our phone numbers would be labeled spam. I was utterly shocked to see almost all of our numbers were flagged as spam on at least one mobile phone carrier."
Intuit Testing Logo
Dudely Brenner
Intuit Labs