Information Technology Acts
December 4, 2012
Information Technology Acts
Throughout the years, technology has advanced at an ever increasing rate. Advances in information technology in particular, have made information that years ago, would have taken weeks or even months to gather, available at the push of a button. With information so readily available to anyone and everyone, new ethical issues arose that resulted in the need for regulations to be placed on how that information can be used.
Acts such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 1991 and the Do Not Call Implementation Act, 2003 were created to stem the tidal wave of telemarketing calls that swept the country and continue to aggravate and annoy millions of people. Calls that come just when dinner is being served, or at some other inappropriate time. The rise of computers and the internet, coupled with businesses that ...view middle of the document...
In 1991, congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, putting into place rules intended to regulate the use of unethical practices employed by the telemarketing industry. The TCPA prohibited solicitors from calling residences before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., local time. It also stopped companies from misrepresenting themselves by requiring them to provide their name and the name of the person or entity on whose behalf the call is being made. The TCPA prohibited sales calls to cell phones and further required that solicitors maintain a list of consumers that do not wish to be called. Although regulations regarding the Do Not Call list were in place, they were in effect ineffective. DNC regulations required consumers to go through the frustrating experience of making the Do Not Call request to each telemarketer. This gave telemarketers the opportunity to continue with business as usual.
Not until 2003, with the passing of the Do Not Call Implementation Act and the FTC’s adoption of the National Do Not Call Registry was there any kind of relief. The Do Not Call Registry gave telemarketers 90 days from the date a number is registered with the Registry to stop calling that number. Once a number was registered, it stayed on the list for five years. Subsequent improvements to the Act, have lowered the time it takes to stop receiving calls from 90 days to 31 days and increased the time a number stays on the list. Instead of five years, numbers now added to the list are listed permanently. The Registry did not put a stop to all unwanted calls. Regulations still allow calls from political organizations, not for profit groups, those conducting surveys, and companies with which an existing business relationship is established.
Funny thing the way technology works. When one avenue of communication suffers a setback, technology steps in with a replacement, so, while the laws are somewhat protecting consumers, the rapid rate of advancement in Information Technology ensures that new ethical issues will arise and new laws will be need to put into place to deal with them.