Ind. AG appeals decision allowing robo-calls

Bryan Cohen Oct. 6, 2011, 12:44pm


INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has appealed a federal court decision that would allow interstate political robo-calls to Hoosiers numbering in the hundreds of thousands.

On Sept. 27, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ruled that the state's ban on auto-dialed, recorded telephone calls playing political messages cannot be enforced if the calls originate outside of Indiana. According to the ruling, Indiana's law is preempted by the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which allows for these types of calls.

"As election season nears, our office felt it was necessary to immediately file an appeal and ask for a stay of the ruling," Zoeller said. "If the state is not granted a stay, thousands of Hoosiers could be contacted per day with unwanted political calls.

"Our citizens have come to expect and deserve privacy from the intrusive ringing of their telephones from organizations they have not chosen to hear from. Their privacy rights should be respected as Indiana law has provided."

In the past two years, more than 10,000 complaints have been filed with Zoeller's office about unwanted telemarketing calls with about 72 percent of them concerning auto-dialed calls. The judge's decision was made after a political advocacy organization based in Illinois -- Patriotic Veterans Inc. -- challenged the state's Automatic Dialing Machine Statute.

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