REQUEST FOR INFORMATION
Federal Trade Commission's Proposed National Do-Not Call Registry
The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") is seeking information that may assist in the development, deployment and operation of a proposed national registry of telephone numbers of consumers who do not wish to receive telephone calls from telemarketers. The FTC is also soliciting information to determine the availability of capable contractors that can accomplish this task. This is a Request for Information ("RFI") only. It is issued solely for information and planning purposes. It does not constitute a Request for Proposals ("RFP") or a promise to issue an RFP in the future. This RFI does not commit the government to contract for any supply or service whatsoever. Funding has been requested of Congress for this project. The U.S. Government will not pay for any information or administrative cost incurred in response to this RFI.
On January 30, 2002, the FTC published in the Federal Register a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("NPR") to amend the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule and to request public comment on the proposed changes. 67 Fed. Reg. 4492 (Jan. 30, 2002). The FTC also plans to publish a proposed Privacy Act System Notice in the near future. (Information about the NPR and proposed Privacy Act System Notice can be found at www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/donotcall/index.htm.) Among other provisions, the NPR proposes to establish a national "do-not-call" registry, maintained by the FTC. The proposal, if adopted, would permit consumers who prefer not to receive telemarketing calls to contact one centralized registry to effectuate this preference. Telemarketers would be required to refrain from calling consumers who have put themselves on this registry. The NPR anticipates that telemarketers would need to access the do-not-call registry on at least a monthly basis in order to remove from their telemarketing lists those consumers who have placed themselves on the national registry.
In developing this proposed registry, the FTC has five primary concerns. The FTC wants to ensure: (1) the accuracy and validity of the consumer telephone numbers added to the registry; (2) the capacity of the system to handle the potential volume of consumer requests to be placed on the registry; (3) the security of the information maintained in the registry; (4) the accessibility of the registry to telemarketers and law enforcement and regulatory agents; and (5) the lowest possible system costs.
If a national "do-not-call" registry is adopted, the FTC envisions the following as one possible method of operating this system. Consumers who wish to enroll in the national registry could do so by calling a toll-free number from the telephone line they wish to register and accessing an automated system. The system could capture the automatic number identification ("ANI") of the number calling the system. The system could then validate the origin of the call by asking the caller to enter, on his or her telephone keypad, the number of the telephone line the caller wishes to register. The system could automatically check the entered number against the ANI data. If the numbers match, the caller could be advised that the number is registered, and the telephone call would end. If the numbers do not match, the caller could be given instructions and/or options on how to register properly. At a minimum, this process would validate that the individual registering a telephone number is calling from the telephone line being registered, and that individual knows the number he or she is registering. This validation helps ensure that only consumers who actually wish to be placed on the "do-not-call" list are placed there.
Telemarketers who do business in the United States may need to access the registry as frequently as once per month. Estimates on the number of telemarketers in the United States have ranged from 40,000 to 100,000. In addition, appropriate FTC and possibly State employees may need to access the registry for law enforcement or other authorized purposes. The FTC anticipates that such access could be available though a secure Internet website. Validation would have to occur to ensure that only appropriate entities are allowed access to the registry. Once secure access is achieved, information in the registry should be sortable and downloadable, as necessary. The information in the system, including dates of consumer registration and telemarketer access to the registry, will need to be maintained for a sufficient period of time to allow for effective law enforcement and tracking purposes.
If fees are charged for accessing the registry, a system may have to be developed to bill, process, and deposit those fees. There may also need to be a system to collect delinquent accounts.
The basic details of the system outlined above may change as a result of the comments received in response to the NPR. In fact, the NPR asks a series of questions concerning the operation of the national registry. See 67 Fed. Reg. at 4538-39 (questions 5-9). The FTC solicits comments from potential vendors concerning these questions as well.
States that have established statewide "do-not-call" registries have experienced consumer registration levels ranging from a few percent of the telephone lines in use within the State, to over 40 percent of all lines. The FTC understands that there are approximately 150 million telephone lines in the United States. If consumers responsible for 40 percent of all U.S. telephone lines sign up for a national "do-not-call" registry, the registry may ultimately include 60 million telephone numbers. In addition, there may be significant demand to access the registry at peak times.
The most critical piece of information captured by the registry is the telephone number of the registering consumer. In fact, it may be the only piece of information that the system needs to capture, along with the date the registration occurred. The NPR seeks comment on issues that may result in additional information being captured, however. For example, the NPR asks whether the "do-not-call" registry should be structured in a two-tiered fashion, so that requests not to receive telemarketing calls to induce the purchase of goods and services be handled separately from requests not to receive calls soliciting charitable contributions. The NPR also asks whether the "do-not-call" registry should allow consumers to specify the days or times of day that they are willing to accept telemarketing calls.
In responding to this RFI, the FTC asks potentially interested vendors to submit information on the following subjects. All responses should be a maximum of 20 pages, excluding printed marketing brochures and corporate or product information. Please number your answers to match the question numbers below.
- Is the proposed system outlined above feasible and practical? Is there an alternative system that can be developed which provides an equal or greater level of consumer validation, registry security, and registry accessibility at a lower cost?
- Briefly describe the system you would be capable of providing to the FTC should the proposed "do-not-call" registry go into effect. Include a brief description of the technical architecture of your proposed system, the methods used to handle the potential volume of consumer requests to register, and the security measures, including the tracking and accounting of disclosures, you would put into place to protect the registry information.
- Briefly describe how you would allow telemarketer and law enforcement access to the registry. How would the potential size of the registry effect that access? Note that telemarketers with different levels of technical sophistication may need to access the registry. Also describe how you would ensure or authenticate that only appropriate entities obtain access to the registry information.
- Is it possible for your system to delete consumer telephone numbers automatically once those numbers have been disconnected and/or reassigned to new consumers? How would you obtain this information? From what source? How reliable and complete is the information obtained from this source? What are the potential costs for obtaining this information?
- What procedures could be established to update the numbers in the "do-not-call" registry when the area codes associated with those numbers change?
- What procedures could your system offer to consumers who want to verify that their numbers have been placed in the "do-not-call" registry? To consumers who want to delete or change their information contained in the registry?
- Describe the specific billing and collection mechanisms you would use if fees are charged to access the registry.
- Describe your expectations concerning the rights you would maintain in any part of the proposed system you would develop. The FTC expects that the data collected in the registry would be the government's property and cannot be used for any non-governmental purpose other than for telemarketers to come into compliance with the Telemarketing Sales Rule. The FTC also expects to require that the proposed system comply with the requirements and standards of the Federal Records Act, Rehabilitation Act (e.g., section 508), the Privacy Act, and any other applicable statutes, regulations, or orders.
- Provide estimates of the cost of your proposed system, in total and/or per transaction. Indicate the amount of those costs necessary to build or develop the system and the amount necessary to operate it. Do any of these cost estimates change based on the volume of transactions that occur? Finally, provide an estimate of the time necessary for you to implement your proposed system.
- Briefly describe your company, products, services, history, ownership and any other information you deem relevant. In particular, describe any projects you have been involved in that are similar in concept to what is described in this RFI, including management and operations approach, security requirements, and any relevant lessons learned.
- Include any suggestions on acquisition strategies that the FTC should use for this project, e.g., performance based statement of work, turn-key approach, two-stepped sealed bidding, etc.
- Include any comments on the structure of the requirements for a formal RFP response.
- Include the relevant information if your services are available on a GSA schedule or other contract vehicle.
- Identify the commercial performance matrix and incentives that should be used.
Posting Date: February 27, 2002
Response Date: March 29, 2002 Contracting Office Address: Federal Trade Commission, Financial Management Office, Acquisitions, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580 Point of Contact: David Torok, Staff Attorney
Federal Trade Commission, Division of Marketing Practices
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. Washington, DC 20580
Send three copies of your response to this RFI to David Torok. Modification 1 Federal government offices in the Washington, DC area continue to experience delays in receiving regular U.S. mail. In order to receive your submission in a timely manner, please send it by overnight courier. Responses may also be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax 202-326-3395.