BEIJING, July 7 (Xinhua) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday further refined a law banning “machine dials”, removing an exemption from the law,media reported. This waiver allows machines to automatically dial to recover debts owed to the federal government. Conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh ruled 7-2 in court.
This is a failure for political and pollsters trying to use automatic dialing technology to reach potential voters’ phones. The agencies argue that the machine dialing ban in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 violated the First Amendment right to free speech.
Cavanaugh’s ruling found that the exemption, which only joined the law in 2015, for government debt collection, violated the First Amendment because it placed government speech above political speech by private entities without good reason.
In the United States, with a few exceptions, it is illegal to automatically dial someone’s mobile phone without prior consent.
Some groups want a complete repeal of the ban on machine dialing, saying it violates the First Amendment. The Federal Communications Commission, on the other hand, urged the court to uphold both the machine dial-up ban and the government’s debt waiver.
“Americans have strong differences on many things, but they largely despise machine dialing. The federal government has received an alarming number of complaints about machine dialing – 3.7 million in 2019 alone. Similarly, states continue to receive complaints,” Kavanaugh wrote.
Despite the ban, the number of automatic machine dials has soared in recent years. Americans received 58.5 billion machine dial-up calls last year, up 22 percent from 2018, according to YouMail, which provides automated calls.
The amendment to the law allows machines to dial to recover debtowed or guaranteed by the federal government, including many student loans and mortgage debt.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Cavano’s attitude at a conference call debate in May was that Americans would not be overwhelmed by more machine-dialed phones.
“It’s one of the more popular laws because people don’t like their phones getting machine dial-up calls, ” Cavanaugh said at the time. “