Technology regulations succeed or fail based upon their ability to regulate an idea. Constant innovation forces legislators to draft statutes aimed at prohibiting the idea of a device, rather than a specific device itself, because new devices with new capacities emerge every day. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a federal statute that imposes liability based on the idea of an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS). But the statute’s definition of the device is ambiguous. The FCC struggles to coherently apply the definition to new technologies, and courts interpret the definition inconsistently. Federal circuit courts have split over these inconsistent interpretations. This Note explains the problems associated with the TCPA’s definition and outlines a solution that ensures uniform and workable enforcement of federal rules.
Unplanned Obsolescence: Interpreting the Automatic Telephone Dialing System After the Smartphone Epoch,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol119/iss1/4