Should Do Not Call List Registrations Last Forever?

Powerful Members of Congress are backing measures that would prevent Do Not Call registrations from expiring. Though the list has proven wildly popular, covering 150 million numbers in a country of 300 million, the FTC currently expires listings after five years to ostensibly account for people who move or change their number. Proposals to make registrations permanent have already won over the editorial board of the Asheville Citizen-Times:

The popularity of the list confirms that few people want to have their dinner or other personal time interrupted to deal with a telemarketer intent on selling something. The argument that people can just not answer the phone doesn’t work for everyone. Those with loved ones overseas or with family members who need special care are usually unwilling to risk missing a call that might bring critical or time-sensitive information.

The FTC insists that re-registering is incredibly easy to do and no doubt that’s true, but it’s beside the point. Many people simply won’t remember to do it and will be rudely jarred into logging on to the Web site or calling the toll-free number to add their numbers back to the list by getting a barrage of unwanted calls.

The companion proposals have heavyweight support. Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA), Vice-Chair of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, is sponsoring the House version, H.R. 3541. On the Senate side, S. 2096 won over the notoriously curmudgeonly Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member, Ted Stevens (R-AK).

We support permanent Do Not Call listings even though they fall short of our ideal: telemarketing should be limited to those who explicitly opt-in.

Registration on Do Not Call list should be permanent [Asheville Citizen-Times]
S. 2096 [GovTrack]
H.R. 3541 [GovTrack]
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Mark Your Calendars: Do Not Call List Numbers Start Expiring In June 2008
(AP Photo/Wally Santana)