Big Tech Exploits Private Information to Blast Consumer With Robocalls?

Big Tech Exploits Private Information to Blast Consumer With Robocalls?

October 17, 2020 0 By administrator

This will get your attention.

Reading the briefs submitted by Facebook and the Government to the Supreme Court in connection with the big TCPA ATDS review, it is crystal clear that the TCPA was intended only to apply to pernicious technology that dials randomly or sequentially. Indeed, the case for this proposition was so compelling it was almost impossible to imagine a convincing counter-narrative.

Here’s one: Big Tech is exploiting the vast store of private information it has on Americans in a fiendish plot to blast consumers with robocalls.

Not bad. Could use an evil laugh though.

And a meaningful punchline.

Yes, the Respondents in the huge Facebook TCPA ATDS appeal went there. But then again, where else did they have to go?

Noticeably absent from Respondents’ sleight-of-hand brief is the why. Why would Facebook–of all companies–want to send rampant robocall messages to Americans as the brief constantly suggests? It just doesn’t stick. And without a proper motive the entire story unravels as quickly as that entire Daenerys-Targaryen-burns-the-city-down-for-no -eason arc.

The set up is good though. Here’s the introduction that obliquely plays on American’s noted fear of the centralization of power in the hands of corporate interests:

Facebook knows nearly everything about us: our biographical details; our relationships; our work, education, and home addresses; places we go, friends we keep, searches we make, ads we click; and much more—including our phone numbers. Facebook now asks this Court to let it and others use that information to make unwanted robocalls and texts to cellphones.

Like I said. Not bad. Except the narrative just doesn’t stick. The texts at issue in Duguid are alert messages initiated by user interactions. Facebook wasn’t trying to sell anyone anything. And its TCPA challenge isn’t about authorizing “Big Tech” to roboblast anyone anything– its about interpreting a narrowly-worded statute in a manner consistent with its plain meaning and the First Amendment.

But the Big-Tech boogie man strategy may play well given the current state of Washington D.C. We’ll have to wait and see.

Looking past the narrative and to the legal argument the brief is a bit of a yawner (sorry, not sorry).

The brief argues that the TCPA applies to all devices that store numbers to be dialed automatically, despite the fact that the word “automatically” isn’t in the definition– and the words “random and sequential number generator”– which are in the definition– should be ignored. The rationale for this stretchy stretch? Because that’s what Congress must have intended (even though there’s no direct evidence for this proposition), as can be clearly (not clearly) gleaned from a few places where the statute is otherwise vague and an assumption that Congress probably wanted to…

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