During HIMSS19 in Orlando last week, I caught up with one of our angel investors, Ryan Tarzy. He was canvassing the conference floor with Tom Groom, CEO of HealthNexus. As I shared my thoughts on the marketplace, specifically around secure patient engagement, Ryan suggested I get acquainted with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA. This post is about the TCPA and whether or not it pertains to our business.
What is the TCPA?The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was passed by the United States Congress in 1991 and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. Its purpose was to address the explosion of unsolicited telemarketing calls, faxes, pre-recorded calls, and SMS text messages. The law falls into the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission ( FCC). The Do-Not-Call registry, which applies nationwide and to almost all telemarketers, is also related to the TCPA. Its relation came about in 2003, when the TCPA was revised to establish a national Do-Not-Call registry with the Federal Trade Commission ( FTC). Then in 2012, the TCPA was again updated to require telemarketers to:
- Obtain prior express written consent from consumers before robocalling them
- No longer allow telemarketers to use an "established business relationship" to avoid getting consent from consumers when calling their home phones
- Require telemarketers to provide an automated, interactive "opt-out" mechanism during each robocall so consumers can immediately tell the telemarketer to stop calling.
Does Email Fall Under Telephone Consumer Protection Act?
Nick Angotti (Lark Security, LLC) chatting with Mike Parisi (HITRUST)
Later that day, I conferred with Mike Parisi. Mike, who is the Vice President of Assurance Strategy & Community Development at HITRUST, shared this: "The main purpose of TCPA is its focus on call centers and protecting consumers from unsolicited types of telephonic communication." After doing homework on my own, I verified the TCPA does not in fact apply to email-related communication. According to the FCC: "The TCPA restricts the making of telemarketing calls and the use of automatic telephone dialing systems and artificial or prerecorded voice messages. The rules apply to common carriers as well as to other marketers. In 1992, the Commission adopted rules to implement the TCPA, including the requirement that entities making telephone solicitations institute procedures for maintaining company-specific do-not-call lists." Instead, email falls under the jurisdiction of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. We will discuss the CAN-SPAM Act guidelines in a future post.
Conclusion: Does the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) apply to Paubox?
The keyword here is consumer. Unless we shift our business model to pursue consumers via bulk SMS, robocalls, or unsolicited faxing, TCPA is not applicable to Paubox.