RELEASE: CTIA applauds 109th Congress' final legislation

CTIA CEO Largent Applauds Congress for Supporting Key Wireless Legislation WASHINGTON, D.C.--Prior to the adjournment of the 109th Congress, Members considered and passed a number of important wireless initiatives that will: protect consumer privacy, aid military personnel overseas, enhance interoperable telecommunications systems for law enforcement personnel and first responders on the home front, and extend important tax credits for research and development of next-generation wireless services. Chief among the wireless bills was HR 4709, The Telephone Records and Privacy Protection Act, which is a measure designed to make the act of “pre-texting” a federal crime. Pre-texting is a term used to describe how individuals fraudulently obtain a phone user’s call records through elaborate impersonation schemes and then make the records available for sale. CTIA – The Wireless Association® made outlawing pre-texting on the federal level one of its top priorities for 2006. “The wireless industry jealously guards their customers’ privacy,” said CTIA – The Wireless Association® President and CEO Steve Largent. “Pre-texting is fraud - pure and simple - and I applaud Congress for moving to put a strong federal law on the books which expressly makes this form of identity theft illegal. While wireless carriers will continue to take aggressive steps to protect themselves and their customers from this illegal activity, passage of this bill will serve as a significant and meaningful deterrent,” continued Largent. Congress also passed S 2653, known as the Call Home Act of 2006. The legislation would not only direct the Federal Communications Commission to take efforts to reduce telephone rates for Armed Forces personnel overseas, but would also direct the Department of Commerce, in consultation with the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, to award no less than $1 billion for public safety interoperable communications grants no later than September 30, 2007. “The Call Home Act will assist our best and bravest as they stay in touch with their families, friends and loved ones while serving our country overseas,” said Largent. “And on the home front, the legislation ensures that needed resources are deployed so that law enforcement and first responders are equipped with the interoperable telecommunications services and systems they need to keep our nation safe and secure.” Finally, Congress passed HR 6111, The Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, which includes an extension of the Research and Development tax credit through 2007. This initiative has a demonstrated track record of encouraging industry to devote resources to the development of innovative, next-generation wireless services here in the United States. “This is an important piece of legislation because it will help keep America on the forefront of wireless innovation,” said Largent. “This bill is a winner for the American economy, for the American worker and for the American consumer, who today relies so heavily upon advanced wireless services.” CTIA is the international association for the wireless telecommunications industry, representing carriers, manufacturers and wireless Internet providers.