The Federal Communications Commission today issued an emergency temporary waiver to Jewish Community Centers and telecommunications carriers that serve them to allow these entities and law enforcement agencies to access the caller-ID information of threatening and harassing callers.
“This agency must and will do whatever it can to combat the recent wave of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “I am pleased that we are taking quick action to address this issue and hope that this waiver will help Jewish Community Centers, telecommunications carriers, and law enforcement agencies track down the perpetrators of these crimes.”
FCC rules generally require phone companies to respect a calling party’s request to have its caller-ID information blocked from the party receiving the call. A waiver of this rule may help the community centers and law enforcement identify abusive and potentially dangerous callers.
Earlier this week, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York requested such a waiver, indicating that there have been 69 such incidents involving 54 JCCs in 27 different states since the beginning of 2017.
The Commission has issued such waivers in the past, but rarely. Last year, the Commission provided a limited waiver to a school in New York State. Today’s action comes in the form of an order from the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau. In addition, the Commission has issued a public notice soliciting comment on whether a permanent waiver would be appropriate.