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U.S. District Court Rules Florida's Caller ID Act Unconstitutional
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U.S. District Court Rules Florida's Caller ID Act Unconstitutional

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August 03, 2009
By Calvin Azuri
TMCnet Contributor


The U.S. District Court in Miami has ruled that Florida’s recently enacted Caller ID Anti-Spoofing Act is unconstitutional. The court also issued a judgment in favor of SpoofCard.com’s parent company, TelTech Systems Inc. and other plaintiffs.

 
Florida’s recently enacted Caller ID Anti-Spoofing Act prohibited callers and service providers like SpoofCard from using Caller ID spoofing when making a call within Florida, or to any person in Florida. The ruling by the Federal Court could have lead to limits on states’ attempts to regulate activities conducted over electronic networks, including the Internet. Caller ID spoofing is the practice of changing of the Caller ID to show any desired number.
 
The plaintiffs had claimed that the Florida law violated the U.S. constitution (TelTech Systems Inc. v. McCollum, 08-61664-CIV (U.S. D.Ct. S. D. Fl.)). Callers that use the Caller ID spoofing feature on their business and personal calls were also included as plaintiffs. The court agreed with the plaintiffs and held the act unconstitutional, reasoning that the proliferation of mobile phones, call forwarding and other technological developments made it impossible for callers or service providers outside of Florida to ensure that they were not violating the Florida law except by not using Caller ID spoofing at all. That is, the law had the practical effect of regulating commerce outside the state's borders, in violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. constitution.
 
The court’s reasoning applies to state attempts to regulate activities conducted over electronic networks, including the Internet. This landmark court decision is an important precedent for challenges to any potential legislation regarding anti-caller ID spoofing laws in other states.
 
SpoofCard, a Caller ID spoofing service provider has recently started offering its service outside the U.S. and Canada. Available to anyone, SpoofCard can be purchased as a prepaid service similar to a calling card. It works to and from any phone and allows anyone to maintain their anonymity by sending any phone number as their Caller ID. Additional features of the product include an option to change the voice to a male or female in real-time as well as an option for the user to record the conversation. The customers of SpoofCard include individuals, business professionals and even celebrities.

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Calvin Azuri is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Calvin’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison

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