SECTION 1. Section 1 of chapter 159C of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the definition of “Office”, the following 2 definitions:-
“Personal identifying information”, any name or telephone number that may be used, alone or in conjunction with any other information, to assume the identity of a person or persons.
“Pose”, to falsely represent oneself, directly or indirectly, as another person or persons.
SECTION 2. Section 4 of said chapter 159C, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:- The telephone number listed in the caller identification service or device shall be a valid telephone number attributable and traceable back to the calling party.
SECTION 3. Said chapter 159C is hereby amended by inserting after section 4 the following 2 sections:-
Section 4A. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, a person shall not, with the intent to deceive, defraud, harass, cause harm or wrongfully obtain anything of value, including, but not limited to, financial resources or personal identifying information:
(1) make, place or initiate a call or text message or engage in conduct which results in the display of misleading, false or inaccurate caller identification, or caller ID, information on the receiving party’s telephone or device or otherwise circumvent caller identification technology;
(2) cause to be displayed a Massachusetts area code on the recipient’s caller ID unless the person making, placing or initiating the call or text message maintains a physical presence in the commonwealth; or
(3) obtain or use personal identifying information about a person without the express authorization of such person in order to pose or assist another to pose as such person in making, placing or initiating a call or text message.
A violation of this section shall be considered an unfair and deceptive act or practice in violation of chapter 93A. This section shall not apply to:
(1) lawfully authorized investigative, protective or intelligence activity of a law enforcement agency, a State, or a political subdivision of a State, or of an intelligence agency of the United States; or
(2) activity engaged in pursuant to a court order that specifically authorizes the use of caller ID manipulation.
Section 4B. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, providers of telephone services in the commonwealth shall implement effective caller authentication technology for all networks to ensure the legitimacy of caller identification numbers provided by their systems to consumers.
SECTION 4. Section 8 of said chapter 159C is hereby amended by adding the following subsection:-
(d) Aggrieved persons, public interest groups, municipalities of the commonwealth, the department of telecommunications and cable or the attorney general’s office may initiate proceedings relating to violations of section 4A. Violations of said section 4A, in actions brought pursuant to this subsection, shall be punished by fines of not more than $10,000 per each deceptive call; provided that said fine shall be not less than $5,000 for each deceptive call involving a consumer age 65 years or older.
SECTION 5. There shall be established a special legislative commission pursuant to section 2A of chapter 4 of the General Laws to study methods for and effects of implementing the requirements of section 4B of chapter 159C of the General Laws. The commission shall consist of: 2 members of the house of representatives, 1 of whom shall be appointed by the speaker of the house and 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader of the house; 2 members of the senate, 1 of whom shall be appointed by the president of the senate and 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader of the senate; the attorney general or a designee; and 2 persons to be appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the telecommunications industry, and 1 of whom shall be a consumer protection advocate. The commission shall submit a report to the governor and the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate not later than 1 year after the effective date of this act detailing their findings and recommendations.
SECTION 6. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, providers of telephone services in the commonwealth shall implement effective caller authentication technology for all networks to ensure the legitimacy of caller ID numbers provided by their systems to consumers pursuant to section 4B of chapter 159C of the General Laws not later than June 30, 2019.
SECTION 7. The office of consumer affairs and business regulation shall promulgate regulations to implement sections 4A and 4B of chapter 159C of the General Laws not later than 3 months after the effective date of this act.
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