Cell phone privacy bill set to become law

By Jessica M. Karmasek | May 9, 2011


INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - The Indiana General Assembly has passed a new bill that will protect the telephone privacy of cell phone users.

A final version of the bill, House Enrolled Act 1273, passed on April 29 with a 50-0 vote in the state Senate and 93-0 vote in the House of Representatives.

Implemented under former Attorney General Steve Carter, the Do Not Call law protects Indiana consumers from annoying, unwanted telemarketing calls. More than 1.8 million residential phone numbers now are registered on the Do Not Call list.

Telephone solicitors who violate the law and call those numbers can face lawsuits from the Attorney General's Office and financial penalties.

"Because many Hoosiers now use cell phones only and do not have land lines at home, we wanted to statutorily extend the protections of the Do Not Call list for cell phone users so they also can be shielded from intrusive solicitors," Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement last week.

HEA 1273 clarifies the statute, allowing Indiana residents to register their cell phone numbers, prepaid wireless calling and interconnected VOIP service onto the Do Not Call list if that cell number or service is used as their residential phone number.

Telemarketers who call a cell phone number registered on the Do Not Call list will face the same penalties as those who call a registered land line.

State Sens. Vaneta Becker, R-District 50; Jim Tomes, R-District 49; and Lindel O. Hume, D-District 48, were Senate co-sponsors of the bill.

"HEA 1273 is a common sense proposal to add the same protections regarding the Do Not Call List for cell phone users which we currently have for land lines," Becker said in a statement.

The bill is now on Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels' desk, awaiting his signature.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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