THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS
OTTAWA, Wednesday May 30, 2012
The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications met this day at 6:45 p.m. to examine the subject-matter of those elements contained in Division 41 of Part 4 of Bill C-38, an Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures.
Senator Dawson (chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Honourable senators, I call to order this hearing of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications.
This evening we will continue our prestudy of Bill C-38 as we look at elements contained in Division 41 of Part 4 in the Telecommunications Act which modifies the ownership and control restrictions for certain carriers.
It is our pleasure today to welcome Mr. Keogh and Ms. Laizner. Welcome. I thank you for having taken the time to come here to discuss the perspective and the role of the CRTC in the context of our preliminary study. You have the floor.
John Keogh, Senior General Counsel, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission: Thank you, chair. We are pleased to appear before you to explore how the implementation of Bill C-38 will impact on our activities at the CRTC. As you are aware, several elements of legislation have a direct bearing on the Telecommunications Act and the delivery of our mandate under that act.
I would like to introduce my colleague from the CRTC, Christianne Laizner, General Counsel, Telecommunications.
The CRTC's Chief of Compliance and Enforcement Officer, Andrea Rosen, is unable to join us this evening due to a scheduling conflict. She is attending a meeting with the members of the International Do Not Call Network, which is an important component of our compliance strategy. We will explain this strategy in greater detail in a few moments.
I would like to address the elements of the bill that make the changes to the foreign ownership provisions in the Telecommunications Act first. I understand that you explored these issues in depth with Minister Paradis and his representatives yesterday, so I will keep my remarks short.
I would first note that our role on this file is quite limited. The government and Parliament are responsible for setting policies and passing legislation. The CRTC implements federal legislation, ensuring that the policies are followed.
I would point out that we track total annual telecom revenues and publish this number in our annual CRTC Communications Monitoring Report. This means that the 10 per cent threshold referred to in the legislation will be known to industry players.
We also continue to track ownership levels for telecommunications entities operating in Canada through regular filing requirements.
I would now invite my colleague, Ms. Laizner, to address the changes to the National DNCL, Do Not Call List.
Christianne Laizner, General Counsel, Telecommunications, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission: The National Do Not Call List, or DNCL for short, is a successful program that is maturing and proving to be very popular with Canadians.
Chances are you were among the Canadians who have registered over 10.8 million phone, fax and cell numbers since its launch in September 2008. The National DNCL allows Canadian consumers to register free of charge to reduce the number of unsolicited telephone calls they receive. With some exceptions established by Parliament, telemarketers are prohibited from calling consumers who are registered on the list.
Public feedback about the National DNCL's effectiveness in blocking unwanted calls is very positive. In a recent survey nearly eight in 10 registrants reported that they now receive fewer telemarketing calls than they did before adding their telephone number to the National Do Not Call List.
We welcome the government's decision, outlined in Budget 2012, to provide us with the authority to establish a mechanism that will ensure sustainable funding for our National DNCL activities. This will enable the CRTC to maintain its highly effective compliance and enforcement program so that it can continue to meet Canadians' expectations. Stable funding is critical to the National DNCL's future success.
Public support for the program is impressive. Since December 2009, we have seen a 25 per cent increase in consumer registrations. And we receive roughly 2,500 new registrations each day. Equally encouraging, since December 2009, there has been a 25 per cent increase in telemarketer registrations, with roughly 9,500 telemarketers currently registered with the National Do Not Call List operator. Most noteworthy, over the same time period, there has been a 40 per cent decline in absolute numbers in the amount of monthly complaints we receive.
These results reflect both increased awareness of the program and how it works, and the effectiveness of our compliance efforts.
Our job at the CRTC is to ensure that, when Canadians register their numbers, they do so with the confidence that telemarketers will respect their wish to maintain their privacy.
We have adopted a two-pronged approach to achieve this objective. We make sure telemarketers understand their obligations under the law, and we act in response to legitimate complaints. We make every effort to manage our resources prudently and strategically to foster compliance with the law. We use the triage process to establish enforcement activities that are measured, predictable and fair. We use different tools to encourage compliance and enforce the rules, ranging from outreach programs to warnings and monetary penalties. Many factors are taken into account to help us focus our resources, such as the number and frequency of complaints and whether the telemarketer is a repeat offender.
Our most recent data shows that we have issued 179 citations and 48 notices of violation with monetary penalties. Penalties are determined based on the size of the company and the severity of the violations, among other considerations. Through its enforcement activities, the CRTC has collected over $2.2 million in penalties, which have been remitted to the Receiver General for Canada.
Our efforts extend beyond enforcement, as our overarching goal is to maximize compliance. We cover the entire waterfront when it comes to compliance, including outreach, education and international cooperation. Let me address each of these in turn.
We put a heavy emphasis on outreach to telemarketers to help them understand the rules so they will respect their obligations. We undertake public education activities to enable more consumers to benefit from the program and to help them understand how the National DNCL operates. One of the rewards of these efforts is that Canadians now better understand exemptions under the program. We receive far fewer complaints than we did in the past, and those we receive are more often valid complaints.
We are also working with international partners to track down telemarketers operating outside our borders. For example, in October 2011, the CRTC reached an agreement with two Mexican-based telemarketers selling Cancun vacation packages to Canadians. This agreement, which was secured through a close collaboration with Mexico's consumer protection agency Profeco, requires the telemarketers to abide by Canadian rules.
That same month, we were the cofounders of a new international Do Not Call Network. In partnership with the Australian Communications and Media Authority, we brought together 12 enforcement agencies to form this international network. The CRTC and our Australian counterparts serve as the network's co-chairs, while the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is hosting the secretariat. We are engaged in both bilateral and multilateral discussions with our international counterparts.
When Bill C-28, Canada's anti-spam legislation, comes into effect, it will enhance our ability to share information with other jurisdictions. The legislation allows for reciprocal sharing of information for investigative purposes.
Mr. Chair, as I stated at the beginning of my remarks, stable funding is crucial if we are to continue this progress and build on our early success.
Proposed changes to the Telecommunications Act would allow the CRTC to create regulations to recover the cost of investigations and enforcement from the telemarketing industry. The amendments, subject to approval by Parliament, would permit the CRTC to establish the appropriate fees.
With these amendments, the cost of compliance will no longer be charged to Canadian taxpayers. These funds will be provided by the telemarketing industry.
When the national DNCL was first established, the list operator was permitted to collect funds to recoup its start-up costs and to cover its ongoing operating costs. Since the initial start-up expenses have now been recovered, the portion that was collected from telemarketers for this purpose will be used to cover the costs incurred by the CRTC in investigating complaints and taking enforcement action against violators.
We will hold public consultations with telemarketers and other interested parties on the fee structure that would come into effect on April 1, 2013. We expect this cost recovery model can be implemented without having to raise the total amount of subscription fees charged to telemarketers.
I want to emphasize that we are committed to minimizing the burden on small and medium-sized businesses, as we have been from the beginning. We will do everything we can to keep rates low.
This concludes our formal remarks, Mr. Chair. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about our presentation.
The Chair: I thank our witnesses for their presentations.
Before we continue, I would like to introduce the senators who are around the table.
Senator Zimmer is from Manitoba; Senator MacDonald is from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia; myself, Senator Dawson from Quebec City; Senator Greene, from Nova Scotia; Senator Doyle, from Labrador and Newfoundland.
Senator Boisvenu, from Quebec, and Senator Josée Verner, also from Quebec.
Senator Martin is from Vancouver; and Senator Unger from Alberta.
You mentioned Bill C-28. Do you have any idea when you expect that bill to come into effect?
Ms. Laizner: We expect the bill to come into effect in 2013.
Senator Verner: I want to talk about the management of the National Do Not Call List.
In 2007, the CRTC awarded Bell Canada a contract to administer the list for five years. Then, in December 2010, the CRTC also fined Bell Canada $1.3 million for having violated the list’s provisions.
You are probably in the process, unless you have already done so, of choosing a new supplier to manage the famous list. Does the fact that Bell Canada was slapped with such a large fine exclude it from the selection process, or not?
Ms. Laizner: The contract with Bell Canada is still in effect until June 2013. There are contract renewal options. We have not put out a call for tenders yet. We are considering our options at this time.
You are correct, the bill has to be passed by Parliament. We are going to see what we could do to implement its regulations.
Senator Verner: My question is not really about that aspect. I was thinking more about the ethical perspective from the consumer’s viewpoint; consumers see the management of the list entrusted to a business that has itself breached the provisions on the management of the list. I think you see what I mean.
My question is simple: Bell Canada violated the provisions governing the management of the list and was fined $1.3 million, which is a considerable amount. Are you going to take measures to prevent it from renewing its contract, or to ensure that in future, the business that manages the list will not itself be guilty of violating its conditions?
Ms. Laizner: May I reply in English?
Senator Verner: Absolutely.
Ms. Laizner: You are absolutely right. There was a case against Bell Canada in 2010. It related to violations of our rules under the DNCL, the unsolicited telecommunications rules, that took place in 2010. We did not treat Bell Canada any differently than we would have treated any other company engaged in violations. They paid a substantial administrative monetary penalty of $1.3 million, and we have finished that chapter with them with respect to those violations.
With respect to the contract for the list operator, that was a publicly conducted procurement under our procurement obligations. We issued a request for proposal. Bell submitted the only compliant proposal, and they have been operating the list. It is working well. Complaints are down and registrations are up. In effect, we see those as two different issues. They certainly have paid. They have moved forward and we have not had a case against them since that time. Therefore, they would be in the running for this, for sure, and we are looking at those options.
Senator Verner: I would now like to ask you a question about the anti-spam act which is not in effect yet. We do know that the provisions of the anti-spam law will be different from those relating to the management of the Do Not Call List.
What I mean is that in one case, you have to sign up to avoid repeated calls from telemarketing firms. In the case of the anti-spam legislation, it would be the reverse. Those who want to get in touch with you will have to ask for prior authorization.
Would you say that eventually, one law will prove to be much more effective than the other and that at that point — I am speaking of the act among other things — this could ultimately replace the Do Not Call List? If you had to examine this, what would your perspective be?
Ms. Laizner: That is a very good question. They are two separate regimes right now. There are some provisions in the anti-spam legislation, which we call CASL, that would intersect with DNCL. For example, under CASL, we will be able to enter into information sharing agreements with our counterparts in other jurisdictions.
You mentioned that under the DNCL list operation, consumers who do not wish to be contacted by telemarketers take that positive act of registering their numbers on the list, whereas under the CASL legislation, Parliament has adopted a system whereby there has to be consent obtained in advance before you would receive electronic commercial messages. It is Parliament that has enacted both of these pieces of legislation. The DNCL regime is the same regime that is in effect in other jurisdictions, and the CASL regime adopts some of the best practices we have seen around the world.
Whether the two would merge, I do not know at this point in time. CASL does have provisions for rolling the DNCL system into its operation. As I said, it has some useful provisions that we hope we will be able to take advantage of to have more effective compliance and enforcement efforts for telemarketing.
The Chair: Before I give the floor to Senator Boisvenu, Senator Zimmer would have an additional question.
Senator Zimmer: How do you set the fee at $1.3 million? Do you pull it out of the air, or do you have a yardstick or jurisprudence or some past history? How do you arrive at $1.3 million?
Ms. Laizner: The legislation provides for penalties up to $1,500 for individuals per violation, and up to $15,000 for companies per violation. We look at the number of complaints. We look at the size of the company. We looked at factors such as encouraging compliance and the severity of the violations. We try to maintain consistency in how we assess the administrative monetary penalties in accordance with the violations. In the case of Bell, there were hundreds of complaints, and we asked them for their call logs where we were able to see how many calls had been made to numbers that were registered on the list.
Senator Zimmer: Thank you.
Senator Boisvenu: I want to thank our witnesses. I agree completely not only with Senator Verner’s opinion, but on the matter of the pertinence and transparency of awarding a contract to a company that was given a fine; this seems to me to contravene ethics. I invite the CRTC to do some serious thinking about that point. This goes to the credibility of your role and that of Bell Canada.
You said that your role was quite limited with regard to Bill C-38, the purpose of which is to open the door a little wider to foreign businesses to develop wireless. I hope that this will be done in rural areas, as they are suffering a lot from the lack of quality service.
When you say that your role is limited with regard to the bill, could you explain what you mean by that a little, Mr. Keogh?
Mr. Keogh: I was referring to the role that the commission has vis-à-vis administration of the foreign ownership limits being limited in the sense that we are not establishing what those limits should be. They are brought forward by the government and Parliament enacts them.
The commission's role under the legislation is to monitor the ownership levels to ensure that those who must meet them are compliant with them. I meant it in that sense.
Senator Boisvenu: Will you have a role to play regarding the quality of the service, given that the service is expected to develop and expand?
Mr. Keogh: Yes, in terms of our general responsibility under the Telecommunications Act, it covers a number of areas. The principal role that the commission has had over the years under the legislation has been to regulate the terms and conditions for the provisions of services. That for many years was, principally, the rates. With competition, we are less and less regulating the rates, certainly, at the retail customer level.
It also included — and still includes — some of the terms and conditions, such as the provision of 911.
There are areas of the country where we still regulate the rates because there is not sufficient competition, and the level and quality of the service is certainly an element of that. In addition, through our regulation we have something that is referred to as the deferral account, provided for the companies that we regulate, that had money in the deferral account to utilize a portion of that money to increase the provision of broadband services to the more remote and rural areas of the country. When speaking initially of our limited role, it was vis-à-vis those ownership levels. I was not speaking about the other responsibilities the commission has under the Telecommunications Act.
Senator Boisvenu: Over the past few years we have seen the convergence of television, cellular and landline telephones, and the Internet in telecommunications. Regarding Bell Canada again I want to talk about the complaints I receive from citizens who deal with that company. A large part of its clientele has abandoned it to go to other suppliers such as Videotron, which has been picking up Bell clients because of the quality of its services.
I just had an experience with a company that provided me with telephone, cable and Internet services. When I deal with that company I get the feeling that I am dealing with three companies. Who could manage a complaint like that?
Our Internet account has a surplus, and our telephone account is in the red. It as though citizens are prisoners of a business that has no regard for them, first of all, and one that has a service structure that is unreasonably poor.
Does the CRTC have a role to play to ensure that Bell, especially if you give it service contracts, shows some minimal respect for our citizens?
Mr. Keogh: We certainly have a role in terms of services where we have not deregulated or forborne, in the language of the legislation. The commission has a responsibility to ensure that the rates that are being charged are just and reasonable. Certainly an element of determining if they are just and reasonable is the quality of the services being provided.
In addition, a lot of the services offered by companies such as Bell are no longer regulated by the commission. However, the commission, consistent with a direction from the government, saw to the establishment of a private organization — the acronym in English is CCTS — which receives complaints from consumers about the service they are receiving from telephone companies. That agency's responsibility is to see if it can resolve the issue between the company and the subscriber.
It has been in operation, I believe, for about three or four years now and reports annually. Its board is made up of a combination of citizen representatives and telephone company representatives. It is there as a vehicle for subscribers who feel they are not getting a response that is satisfactory from their provider; they can make the complaint to that body.
Senator Boisvenu: Does the organization have coercive powers, or does it simply relate to other entities?
Mr. Keogh: I guess it has — I will use the word as it was translated — coercive powers, if you wish. In addition, it has the ability to require compensation be made to the subscriber if it considers it appropriate in the circumstance. It is more than simply trying to bring together the parties to see if they can resolve the matter. If it feels it is warranted, it can also require compensation to be paid.
Senator Boisvenu: First of all, who determines the amount of the fines you levy for violations? Is it the CRTC?
Mr. Keogh: I will answer this to the best of my ability and if you need further information and the chair agrees, we can certainly provide more to you. I am just going on my memory.
In establishing the CCTS, its structure and the authority it was going to have was developed amongst the participants, consumer representatives and representatives of the industry, and ultimately brought to the CRTC as a proposal. The level of compensation that it can order was ultimately accepted by the CRTC, but in any particular instance —
Senator Boisvenu: I was referring to telemarketing businesses — I was not clear enough. Who decides on the gravity of the offence and the level of the fine? Is it the CRTC?
Ms. Laizner: Yes. There is a CRTC section that deals with investigations. If they think that complains are well founded, they will publish a notice of violation.
It is sent to the telemarketer, together with the investigation report that sets out the information that has been looked into by staff. The telemarketer has 30 days to make representations, and they do so where they wish to claim certain exemptions.
For example, in respect to a certain complaint, they might say they actually have an existing business relationship with the consumer that registered the complaint. Or they may exercise due diligence in that they made a call through inadvertence or whatever. We look at that and the final decision is made by commissioners, and that is the amp that is imposed.
The Chair: I am going to set aside my usual reserve as chair to say that I must echo Senators Boisvenu and Verner and their remarks concerning Bell Canada, both with regard to service and the matter of the fine. I very rarely take this type of position, but I wanted to tell them that I agree with them entirely.
Senator Martin: I have one question. How long does the determination typically take?
Ms. Laizner: Every investigation is different. There are some with respect to smaller companies and fewer complaints that get wrapped up fairly quickly. Others can take several months.
Senator Martin: When you say “quickly,” it would be for however long it takes to gather the information?
Ms. Laizner: Yes, because the list operator will provide the CRTC with the complaints. Then the CRTC will use, as I said in my remarks, the triage process. We have had over 500,000 complaints since the inception of the DNCL, so we look for patterns. We look for a lot of complaints against a particular company. That is how it is determined what complaints we will investigate. Then, to do the investigation, staff will go to the telemarketer, get information, call logs, and match those against consumer numbers on the DNCL.
Sometimes a few complaints will result in an investigation that will demonstrate more violations. All of that is taken into the mix in determining whether to impose a notice of violation and administrative monetary penalty.
I would like to emphasize that the purpose is always compliance. The hope is the penalty that is imposed is enough to incite compliance, so the telemarketer brings its practices into conformity with its obligations under the rules for DNCL. It is not there to punish; it is there to ensure we get cooperation, so their industry remains healthy and consumers maintain their right to privacy.
Senator Martin: With regard to the program, I know the goal is to have it funded through the fees that the telemarketers will pay; however, as a system, would you say it is quite efficient? You talked about bilateral and multilateral counterparts. Compared to our counterparts, is the system good as it is or are there other projected or possible costs to making the system more efficient?
Ms. Laizner: The system is new in the sense that it has only been in effect since September of 2008, so that is not a very long time. We have seen, since 2009, a 25 per cent increase in registration of consumers; a 25 per cent increase in registration of telemarketers to the list; a 40 per cent decrease in the absolute number of the monthly complaints that are made. We see those all as signals that it is operating. There have been some surveys done by private sector organizations of consumers, and 8 in 10 of consumers who were registered on the list indicated that they have received fewer calls. Those are the indicators that we could provide you to say that we think that Canadians like the Do Not Call List and that we are doing our best to ensure that we operate the system properly.
Senator Martin: On that note, I know that I forgot about this list, and I think I personally need to register as well.
My question is also regarding the foreign-controlled firms that will potentially become part of Canada's telecommunications industry. Will that create some challenges for the CRTC in terms of monitoring and regulating the two categories?
Mr. Keogh: No, I do not expect so because what is required under the legislation, as it exists currently, is that Canadian carriers, telephone companies, provide us with both their ownership information and their revenue information annually. That does not change under the legislation. No, I do not expect that it will cause any additional work or any complications for us.
Senator Martin: No anticipated potential challenges or issues that may arise?
Mr. Keogh: No, because what will remain in place is the requirement that if you represent 10 per cent or more of the national revenue you must comply with the Canadian ownership provisions, which are not changing. We are administering then what we are administering now, so no, I do not see it.
The Chair: If there are no other questions, I would like to remind the audience that we are looking into Bill C-38, elements that amend the Telecommunications Act to modify the ownership and control restrictions for certain carriers. Next Tuesday we will hear from Michael Geist, law professor at the University of Ottawa.
Senator MacDonald: The question I have is related to the questions I had yesterday for the minister. I would like to ask two questions. I know it is not directly related to the presentation here today, but I thought the witnesses might be able to give us some insight.
With regard to our 911 system, I had some of this documentation. I did not have it at hand last night, but I had it down in my office. Some deadlines were put forward in 2009-10 to increase the precision of the 911 calling system in the country. How has that progressed? Were these deadlines met? What is the status?
Mr. Keogh: Yes, they were. I will preface my comments by saying I am not a technical person, but I will give you what I understand from our technical people.
First, yes, they were. The commission established a deadline for particularly the wireless industry to improve the location capability of 911, and they did meet that. Currently, Canada has a system that is, in the terminology of the area, enhanced 911 with a system that is comparable to what exists in the United States, for example. I saw the question that you had posed to the minister, and what I am advised is that there is work going on for a new standard, which is not yet in place. I am advised that neither in Europe nor in the U.S. — and obviously not in Canada — is that in place yet because they are still working on the standards.
Where we sit today is with a system that is much improved on where it was and comparable to the quality of the service that you would get in the U.S.
Senator MacDonald: One more follow-up. Is there a system in place elsewhere in the world that would exceed our standards?
Mr. Keogh: Not that I am aware of. I can certainly confirm with our technical people if there is. Mr. Chair, I can get back to the clerk on that.
Senator Boisvenu: Are the violations you identified, and the fines, a matter of general penal law and not criminal law?
Ms. Laizner: Quite so, yes.
Senator Boisvenu: So for the businesses concerned, we are not talking about a criminal record that could be expunged after five years?
Ms. Laizner: No.
Senator Boisvenu: Has the CRTC made any recommendations on the bill?
I understand that you said your role in this file is rather limited, but have you made any recommendations, or do you intend to make any?
Mr. Keogh: Vis-à-vis the foreign ownership?
Senator Boisvenu: Concerning Bill C-38.
Mr. Keogh: No. As my colleague indicated, if and when the legislation is adopted for the purposes of funding of the DNCL, there will be regulations which will run a public process. Other than that, I anticipate nothing coming out of the CRTC.
Senator Boisvenu: With regard to the Do Not Call List, are the tools you have sufficient to do a good job, or should changes be made to the act?
Ms. Laizner: We are working within the legislation we have now. We find our role more challenging with respect to cross-border telemarketers. That is why I mentioned that the provisions in the CASL legislation that would allow us to enter into agreements with our foreign counterparts and cooperate on investigations we see as being very useful. In the meantime, because we are operating under the provisions as they exist under the Telecommunications Act, we have established that International Do Not Call Network where we are co-chairs with Australia and where the Federal Trade Commission hosts the secretariat. Our hope is, through that, to encourage other countries that do not have robust telemarketing laws to get into them.
We have also had some success informally, as I mentioned in my remarks, for example, with Mexico where we were able to enter into an agreement with the Cancun-based telemarketers, so that they agreed that they will subscribe and honour our rules. However, we do not have any jurisdiction to levy administrative monetary penalties because of the cross-border issue we have.
Senator Boisvenu: There are undoubtedly a lot of telemarketing firms in countries where the salaries are much lower. We are always surprised to get calls from someone with an Indian or other foreign accent. How are you going to work with those countries? I think that a lot of telemarketing firms are moving their operations offshore. If we have very strict regulations here, these people are going to go elsewhere to avoid the consequences of our legislation. How are you going to manage this relocation?
Ms. Laizner: I agree with you that that is a problem. Sometimes, we see that these offshore companies do telemarketing work for Canadian companies. So if we need to take legal action regarding their clients, this means the Canadian companies.
Senator Boisvenu: And the law permits this?
Ms. Laizner: Yes.
Senator Unger: I have a question regarding Bell's complaint ratio after the fine. Did the complaints drop significantly or are you still receiving complaints from customers about this?
Ms. Laizner: Absolutely. They really did resolve the issue that we had with them with respect to that particular file. We entered into an agreement with them and we monitor them. There are complaints against large organizations like Bell, but not every complaint is actually well-founded in the sense that some consumers will file complaints but they do not realize that because they have an existing business relationship or because it is a business, it is not a consumer. I can say with great deal of assurance that the issue that we had with Bell in 2010 does not exist today.
Senator Unger: I registered with the DNCL as soon as I learned it became available and I quickly regretted my decision. I never used to get calls on my cell phone and to this day I still receive calls. Right now I am getting consistent messages from a company offering to consolidate my loans, which I do not have, into one easy payment. They are very consistent and persistent. I guess I will be filing a complaint.
I have another question, though, and that concerns text messaging. I do not know if that comes under your jurisdiction or not. Specifically, I have been receiving text messages on my cell phone and I have not been very text savvy until fairly recently. I saw this $25 charge on my phone bill and I had to call the company to ask what it was about. The texts are coming from companies and I am being charged $5 each time they text me. I had to phone my phone company to ask how I can stop this. They said, “Well, it is really difficult,” but they walked me through the steps to text back to each one of these companies, a text saying “stop.” That seemed to have solved the problem for me, but I started thinking about the many seniors who have cell phones and who would not have a clue about what to do. I did not. Is this an issue that you look into?
Ms. Laizner: That, I believe, is covered by the anti-spam legislation. That legislation has been passed but it is not in force yet.
Senator Unger: That is comforting to know. Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Keogh and Ms. Laizner, for your presentation.
Colleagues, we will meet next Tuesday morning at 9:30 with Professor Michael Geist.
(The committee adjourned.)