Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today filed an amicus brief in Facebook v. Noah Duguid, a U.S. Supreme Court case that will determine the scope of the protections of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This case is key to states’ ability to protect residents from scammers who use abusive robocall tactics to threaten and scam people out of their money.
“Scammers continually devise new schemes and avenues to commit fraud,” said Attorney General Frosh. “To remain several steps ahead of these scam artists, we must have the tools available to protect our residents from robocalls designed to steal personal information and money.”
The TCPA, enacted in 1991, generally prohibits the use of an autodialer or an artificial or pre-recorded voice to make a call to cell phone users. At issue in the case is whether autodialers include any device that can store and dial numbers automatically, or whether autodialers are limited to devices that use a random number generator. In their brief, the attorneys general side with the plaintiff, Noah Duguid, and argue that the TCPA applies to all kinds of devices that store and dial numbers automatically.
To narrow the definition of autodialers, as Facebook argues, would leave consumers unprotected under the TCPA. Narrowing the definition would also harm states’ ability to protect consumers under the TCPA and would limit collaboration among states and the federal government to take action against abusive robocallers.
Attorney General Frosh is joined in filing today’s brief by the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.