Monthly Compliance Update, December 2010
Reflections on Compliance: A Year in Review
As we head into the end of one year and the beginning of another, I thought I?d take a moment to memorialize my thoughts regarding developments in the world of telemarketing compliance. (Whether the reader wishes to know my thoughts is, of course, another issue entirely, but I shall press on nonetheless).
As a person who practices in the field of telemarketing law and regulation, I am always on the lookout for anything that serves to reduce the complexity associated with compliance. Such developments can take the form of: 1) resources that serve to increase access to the rules while at the same time serving to enable understanding of the rules; and/or 2) regulatory entities enacting new rules that serve to remove confusion and conflicts in existing laws.
Luckily, we?ve seen both in 2010.
On the topic of new resources, 2010 witnessed the further entrenchment of Contact Center Compliance?s new Compliance Guide program across the telemarketing industry. This online program makes all state and federal rules easily accessible, but more importantly, it presents all of the various rules in an understandable format. The Compliance Guide is the only tool available that allows subscribers to design their own reports across all state and federal rules, and it also contains more summary information than any other program available.
In addition, the Compliance Guide contains the State Registration Exemption Master, a powerful tool which enables telemarketers to determine what states they need to register in within a matter of minutes. (Contact Center Compliance is offering the Compliance Guide via a free trial subscription with full access for 24 hours only on Friday December 10. For more information, go to http://www.dnc.com/solutions/complianceGuide/).
Also, on the topic of "confusion removal," the Federal Communications Commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in early 2010 designed to harmonize its prerecorded calling rules with those of the Federal Trade Commission. As the FCC correctly points out, its prerecorded rules are different than the rules promulgated by the FTC, which has long caused confusion and frustration for entities in the telemarketing space. The FCC proposed, in the NPRM, to help alleviate this confusion by streamlining its rules with the FTC?s.
The good news is that the proposed rules go a long way toward removing the differences between the two agencies pre-recorded calling enforcement mandates. And since this is a "feel good, end-of-year" article, I?ll avoid mentioning that the FCC?s proposal doesn?t remove ALL the differences ? I will instead just look forward to the FCC responding to comments submitted by compliance practitioners by coming up with a true "FTC-harmonized" rule.
The Federal Trade Commission, not to be outdone, appears to be making an attempt to provide better guidance to marketers in the field of consumer privacy. Just a few days ago (December 1st) the FTC issued a preliminary staff report that proposes a new "framework" to help marketers understand their obligations with regard to private consumer information. The FTC recommends three proposals: first, that marketers should adopt a "privacy by design" approach by building privacy protections into their everyday business practices; second, that marketers provide choices to consumers about their data practices in a simpler, more streamlined way; and third, the FTC outlines a number of measures whereby marketers can make their data practices more transparent to consumers.
For those of us who have been monitoring the FTC?s ever-delayed enforcement of its "Red Flags" data protection rules, it is a welcome sign that the FTC is apparently changing course and attempting a different approach. (Anyone interested in reviewing the FTC?s proposal, entitled "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change," please visit http://ftc.gov/os/2010/12/101201privacyreport.pdf)
Listen to the latest in our series of compliance
Learn about the top 10 mistakes that can keep you out of legal hot water when conducting inbound or outbound consumer telephone marketing campaigns from guest speaker and leading contact center legal expert, attorney Michele Shuster.
To listen to this and all our past webinars covering the latest, in-depth topics on compliance and Do Not Call regulations visit http://www.dnc.com/complianceInfo/Resources/