90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Telemarketing On Your Cell Phone?

Congress may soon open up your cell phone to robocalls. Will this put a telemarketing hell in your pocket?

Mory Bailo Aw called from a subway platform to get some last minute directions to a friends house in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011.  (AP)

Mory Bailo Aw called from a subway platform to get some last minute directions to a friends house in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011. (AP)

Ever since cell phones took off in the early 1990s, they’ve lived in a special, protected zone – by law.  Tele-marketers might hound you on your land line at home, but your cell phone was off-limits.  Sacred.  No pesky tele-marketing calls ringing in the middle of your morning run, your drive to work, your romantic night out.

But as more and more Americans drop land lines and move to cell phones only, American business is desperate to get access to the phone in your pocket.  A bill before Congress would open the door.

This hour On Point:  the push to robo-dial your cell phone.

 

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests


Brendan Sasso
, covers technology and telecommunications for the congressional journal “The Hill.”

Delicia Reynolds Hand, Legislative Director for the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

John Abell, New York City Bureau Chief for Wired.

Scott Zoeller, Attorney General for the state of Indiana.

Howard Waltzman, A partner at law firm Meyer Brown. He heads a multi-industry coalition of 13-14 different trade associations lobbying for this bill.

 

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Daily News “The innocent-sounding “Mobile Information Call Act” would allow all sorts of nuisance calls to cell phones, eating into customers’ costly minutes, Sen. Chuck Schumer warned Sunday.”

The Washington Post “Lawmakers in the hearing were particularly concerned with what constituted “prior express consent” to receive the calls. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who was influential in passing the TCPA, asked if businesses would be able to reach consumers who had, at some point, given their mobile numbers to companies such as pizza-delivery services.”

Mobiledia “supporters include the American Bankers Association, Association of Credit and Collection Professionals and other institutions that say robocalling would help them remind customers of appointments and alert them about cancellations.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Mar 6, 2015
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves as he speaks before a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 3, 2015. Since Republicans took control of Congress two months ago, an elaborate tug of war has broken out between GOP lawmakers and Obama over who calls the shots on major issues for the next two years. (AP)

Netanyahu’s speech. Hillary Clinton’s email. Obamacare back at the high court. A stunning start to the Boston Marathon bombing trial. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Mar 6, 2015
"The Sellout" is novelist Paul Beatty's new book. (Courtesy Farrar, Strauss & Giroux)

Author Paul Beatty’s novel “The Sellout” is a satirical look at race relations in America. He joins us.

RECENT
SHOWS
Mar 5, 2015
One in four women use psychiatric medication. The reasons for the medication aren't always so clear. (Flickr)

Are American women being prescribed psychiatric drugs – anti-depressants, anti-psychotics — for normal emotions? We’ll hear out one psychiatrist’s bold claim.

 
Mar 5, 2015
A car passes a memorial for Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by Ferguson, Mo., Police Officer Darren Wilson last summer, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Ferguson. A Justice Department investigation found sweeping patterns of racial bias within the Ferguson police department, with officers routinely discriminating against blacks by using excessive force, issuing petty citations and making baseless traffic stops, according to law enforcement officials familiar with the report.  (AP)

The big Justice Department report finds a pattern of racial bias in the Ferguson Police Department. Now what? We’re back in Ferguson – and beyond — for answers.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Answers To Your Questions On Black Holes
Tuesday, Mar 3, 2015

Yale University’s Priyamvada Natarajan answers your black hole questions in full. (Well, most of them.)

More »
Comment
 
Want To Listen To Lead Belly? Here’s Where To Start
Monday, Mar 2, 2015

Loved our show on Lead Belly, but unsure on where you should start to listen? Jeff Place of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage offers his best picks for a beginning Lead Belly listener.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February 27, 2015
Friday, Feb 27, 2015

We won’t lead you into a debate on the color of #TheDress (it’s blue and black, end of debate), but we do wonder about the blurring lines between so-called Internet culture and general popular culture. Also, it’s snowing in Boston. Still.

More »
Comment