TMA Joins in Appealing CA Background Check Legislation

On July 15th, TMA joined a diverse group of over 20 trade associations and businesses in signing on to an amicus letter to the California Supreme Court, requesting that the Court reverse a lower court decision on a background check decision.

If left standing, this decision would render most employment in the state severely delayed, and in many cases, they will no longer be possible at all. The amicus effort was led by the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) and the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA).

On May 26, 2021, the California Court of Appeals, 4th A.D (starting from Riverside County) called for the removal of significant identifiers (date of birth or driver’s license number) from criminal records.

Why is TMA involved?

You, our members, as well as others in our industry, protect people’s lives and property. Every day, businesses and families in California, as well in other states, trust that the people working in our industry are reputable and trustworthy people. Anything that would hamper our members’ abilities to conduct background checks could cause irreparable harm to our members’ customers. Drivers’ licenses are the most commonly used form of identification. Removing date of birth and driver’s license numbers as data identifying criminal defendants will handicap you and background check companies from being able to have a complete picture of an individual and be able to screen out those who should not be entrusted with people’s lives and property.

There is not likely a certain date by which the Court will decide to accept, or reject, the request. If that changes, TMA will alert you. In the event that the Court decides not to take this case, CDIA and PBSA will coordinate a strategy to seek redress by different means. That work will again require a large coalition of support.

View the full list of signatories on TMA’s website at https://tma.us/tma-joins-in-appealing-harsh-ca-background-check-legislation/

If you have any questions, please contact TMA Executive Director Celia T. Besore at cbesore@tma.us or (703) 660-4913.

Amicus signatories included:

  • California Bankers Association
  • California Chamber of Commerce
  • California Credit Union League
  • California Financial Services Association
  • Checkr, Inc.
  • Coalition for Sensible Public Records Access
  • Electronic Security Association
  • Lyft, Inc.
  • Moco Incorporated
  • National Consumer Reporting, Association
  • National Public Records Research Association
  • Public Records Retrieval Network
  • Security Industry Association
  • Southern California Rental Housing Association
  • Sue Weaver CAUSE: Commit to Always Using Screened Employees
  • The Monitoring Association
  • Tribal Gaming
  • Protection Network
  • Uber Technologies, Inc.
  • Vector Security, Inc.
  • Western Burglar Alarm and Fire Alarm Association.

Industry Heavyweights Back US 6G Research Project

Source: Mobile World Live, provided courtesy of AICC

AT&T, Nvidia, Samsung America, Qualcomm and InterDigital threw their weight behind a 6G research project in the US, as the global battle to lead in wireless technology beyond 5G continues to heat up.

The center at the University of Texas will go under the name of 6G@UT and aims to establish the groundwork for the new technology.

Each of the founding companies will sponsor at least two specific three-year projects, alongside working with academics on the development of advanced technologies. These include new sensing methods, wireless-specific machine learning algorithms and networking innovations.

Announcing the launch of the project, the University of Texas wireless networking and communications group noted the facility had been founded as an effort to “cement its leadership in wireless innovation” with new technologies including self-driving cars, flying taxis and holographic conferencing on the horizon.

It also noted part of the research would cover use of terahertz bands, which it expects will “allow carriers to better monitor the quality of their networks in different places, from office towers to busy downtown areas to far-flung rural locales”.

Next generation networks “will be loaded with radar, vision, audio, lidar, thermal, seismic and broadband software-defined radio sensors that will provide unprecedented situational awareness to applications and devices running on the network”, the university added.

The project is the latest move in the race to 6G with alliances of major corporations, governments and research facilities vying to lead on development of the new network technology, get a head start on developing use cases and shape the latest wireless technology.

Notable moves include US collaboration The Next G Alliance, an operator supported RISE-6G research project in the European Union and various state-backed R&D efforts in China.

TMA Seeks Industry Support to Extend AT&T 3G Sunset

A message from Lou Fiore, Chair, AICC:

As many of you know, AT&T and Verizon have announced sunsets for their 3G networks. AT&T is calling for a sunset date of February 22, 2022 and Verizon is calling for a sunset of December of 2022 – 10 months later. Because of the Coronavirus many of our customers have been reluctant to have alarm technicians enter their homes and businesses so that we can upgrade their equipment to make them compatible with newer networks.

We need your help especially if your business is headquartered in one of the following states:

AK, AZ, CA, CT, CO, FL, HI, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, NE, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV

The industry is seeking a longer transition period before AT&T sunsets its 3G network. We are asking elected officials to reach out to AT&T and urge them to push back their sunset to December 2022 which would make AT&T’s sunset the same time as Verizon’s proposed sunset, citing the pandemic as the reason.

Linked here is a spreadsheet that includes the staffers of all the members on the House and Senate Telecom Subcommittees. House Members appear first, scroll down to the second page to find Senators. Please use the staffer’s email to contact the Telecom Sub-committee member.

Ideally, if your business is headquartered in a Sub-Committee member’s district or state, we would urge you to reach out to that member. Even if your business is not located in the member’s district but are from his/her state, they will pay attention.

To find out who represents your district go to:

Please let me know if you have any questions. Our lobbyist Bill Signer or I will endeavor to assist you. Thank you in advance for your help in helping our industry.

We are asking you to send the message below to your elected officials:

Dear Representative/Senator:

The burglar and fire alarm industry is seeking your help in urging AT&T to delay the shutdown of its 3G cellular network which is currently scheduled for February 22, 2022 – a mere 16 months from now – to December 2022. This would then have both Verizon and AT&T shutting down their 3G network cellular networks at the same time.

Our industry protects the safety, and property of over 30 million homes and businesses. Additionally, many seniors depend upon us to monitor their personal emergency response systems allowing them to live at home. Many of these systems were installed using the 3G cellular network and must be upgraded, otherwise they will cease to communicate once the 3G networks are shutdown. Historically, AT&T recognized the need for an appropriate time period when it moved from 2G to 3G and provided 4 1/2 years for that transition. The industry estimates that we now have upwards of 3 times the number of 3G devices to change out as we did in the past transition.

Currently, the change-out requires an alarm technician to enter the premise and upgrade the existing equipment. Unfortunately, with the Coronavirus pandemic understandably many of our customers have been reluctant to have us enter their homes and businesses. For six months and counting this has curtailed what was to be a two year transition. Realistically, we are looking at least another nine months before we will be able to resume our normal ability to upgrade these systems.

While AT&T has been working with the industry for the development of equipment that will allow consumers to self-install equipment that would upgrade home security systems, to date that equipment is still in the testing stage. While we are hopeful that the equipment will work, we are not certain it will or whether the manufacturer will be able to meet the demand in a timely fashion.

Accordingly, we are asking you to speak directly with AT&T and urge them to move back their 3G cellular shutdown date to December 2022 and make it the same time as Verizon’s shutdown. Failure to do so will put millions of homes, businesses, and lives needlessly at risk.

Include your address on the emails that you send so they know you are a constituent.

Again, thank you in advance for your help.

Stay safe,

Lou Fiore
Chair, AICC

 

Georgia Joins List of States Banning Fines for Alarm Companies When Customers Generate a False Alarm

Atlanta, Georgia (April 1, 2021) – The Georgia General Assembly has approved a bill that would ban counties or municipal corporations from fining alarm companies for false alarms generated by a customer and through no fault of the alarm system’s contractor.

“This bill has wider implications than for just our industry,” said John Loud, Vice President of Electronic Security Association (ESA) and President of LOUD Security Systems. “The concept of fining a company for a problem caused by its customers is the equivalent of sending someone’s speeding ticket to Ford and sets a precedent that could be a threat to many industries.”

“These policies do little to change user behavior, deny the user the right to confront their accuser and access to due process, and fines an innocent party for the actions of another,” said Stan Martin, Executive Director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC).

The introduction of the legislation follows a bitter three-year fight after the City of Sandy Springs passed a punitive ordinance that fined alarm companies. The city’s success in defending the legislation in court caused the legislature to act. Only one other Georgia city, Brookhaven, followed Sandy Springs’ lead.

A number of other states have passed bills similar to the Georgia bill in recent years including California, Florida, New Jersey, Texas, Tennessee and Iowa.

“There has never been any evidence that fining alarm companies was any more effective than the model alarm ordinance that is widely utilized nationally and endorsed by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police,” said Martin.

“The model ordinance, which fines alarm users, obtains an average 60% reduction in false dispatches and impacts those causing most of the problems. In fact, 85% of alarm systems generate no calls to the police in any given year.”

Under the law companies are responsible for false alarms they cause due to faulty equipment or installation or failure to use a mandated system requiring two calls to an alarm site before notifying police.

“Common sense prevailed,” said Loud. “Our industry stands ready to work with any community that wishes to reduce unnecessary dispatches with a proven model and experts ready to assist.”

Governor Kemp is expected to sign the bill later this month.

Shared by: David Margulies, PRExperts

New Dialing Procedure for Texas Customers

Courtesy of AICC

Ten-digit dialing instituted to facilitate access to National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Source: Texas Public Utility Commission)

LUBBOCK, Texas (NEWS RELEASE) – Starting on April 24, 2021, Texans with phone numbers in the 254, 361, 409, 806, 830, 915 and 940 area codes should get in the habit of dialing 10-digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls.

On July 16, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission  issued an Order (FCC 20-100) approving 988 as the three-digit abbreviated dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Order requires all telecommunications providers (including telecommunications carriers, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol [VoIP] providers, and one-way VoIP providers [covered providers]) to make any network changes necessary to ensure 988 access by July 16, 2022.

Several Texas area codes (254, 361, 409, 806, 830, 915 and 940) have numbers with a 988 prefix.  Therefore, those areas must transition from seven-digit to 10-digit local dialing. (Areas shown in yellow on this map are not affected by this change.)

April 24, 2021 marks the beginning of a “permissive dialing period” in which callers in those area codes can still complete a call with seven-digit dialing. When that period expires on October 24, 2021, only calls dialed with ten digits will be connected.

After the permissive dialing period, local calls dialed with only seven digits will reach a recording prompting them to hang up and dial again using both the area code with the seven-digit telephone number.

What other changes need to be made?

Important safety and security equipment, such as medical alert devices, and alarm and security systems must be programmed to use 10-digit dialing.  Many systems operate on 10-digit dialing by default, but some older equipment may still use seven-digits.  Please contact your medical alert or security provider if you are not sure whether your equipment needs to be reprogrammed to accommodate the upcoming change to 10-digit local dialing.  Any needed reprogramming of alarm and home security equipment must be done during the permissive dialing period from April 24, 2021 to October 24, 2021 to avoid interruption of those services.

Some other examples of services that may need to be re-programmed are:

  • life safety systems or medical monitoring devices
  • PBXs
  • fax machines
  • Internet dial-up numbers
  • fire or burglar alarm and security systems or gates
  • speed dialers
  • mobile or other wireless phone contact lists
  • call forwarding settings
  • voicemail services and other similar functions

Customers should also ensure the area code is included in all other places where a telephone number is displayed like their websites, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, and even personal or pet ID tags.

What will remain the same?

  • Telephone numbers, including current area code, will not change
  • The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the dialing change
  • What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed
  • Customers will continue to dial 1+ the area code + telephone number for all long-distance calls
  • Customers will continue to dial a prefix (such as “9”) when dialing from a multi-line telephone system (e.g., in a hotel, office building, etc.) as required
  • Customers can still dial just three digits to reach 711 (relay services) and 911 (emergency services)
  • If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, or 811 are currently available in one’s community, they can still be dialed with just three digits
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255) even after the 988 code is in effect.

Beginning July 16, 2022, dialing “988” will route calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Customers must continue to dial 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) to reach the Lifeline until July 16, 2022.

To learn more, visit the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) website at https://www.nationalnanpa.com/transition_to_10_digit_dialing_for_988/index.html, email NANPA at 988@somos.com with questions about the dialing procedure change, or visit the FCC website at https://www.fcc.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline.

Georgia Joins List of States Banning Fines for Alarm Companies When Customers Generate a False Alarm

Atlanta, Georgia (April 1, 2021) – The Georgia General Assembly has approved a bill that would ban counties or municipal corporations from fining alarm companies for false alarms generated by a customer and through no fault of the alarm system’s contractor.

“This bill has wider implications than for just our industry,” said John Loud, Vice President of Electronic Security Association (ESA) and President of LOUD Security Systems. “The concept of fining a company for a problem caused by its customers is the equivalent of sending someone’s speeding ticket to Ford and sets a precedent that could be a threat to many industries.”

“These policies do little to change user behavior, deny the user the right to confront their accuser and access to due process, and fines an innocent party for the actions of another,” said Stan Martin, Executive Director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC).

The introduction of the legislation follows a bitter three-year fight after the City of Sandy Springs passed a punitive ordinance that fined alarm companies. The city’s success in defending the legislation in court caused the legislature to act. Only one other Georgia city, Brookhaven, followed Sandy Springs’ lead.

A number of other states have passed bills similar to the Georgia bill in recent years including California, Florida, New Jersey, Texas, Tennessee and Iowa.

“There has never been any evidence that fining alarm companies was any more effective than the model alarm ordinance that is widely utilized nationally and endorsed by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police,” said Martin.

“The model ordinance, which fines alarm users, obtains an average 60% reduction in false dispatches and impacts those causing most of the problems. In fact, 85% of alarm systems generate no calls to the police in any given year.”

Under the law companies are responsible for false alarms they cause due to faulty equipment or installation or failure to use a mandated system requiring two calls to an alarm site before notifying police.

“Common sense prevailed,” said Loud. “Our industry stands ready to work with any community that wishes to reduce unnecessary dispatches with a proven model and experts ready to assist.”

Shared by: David Margulies, PRExperts

Support Industry-wide Appeal for AT&T 3G Sunset Extension

The Monitoring Association (TMA) is taking part in an industry-wide advocacy campaign calling for AT&T to delay their 3G sunset, which is currently set for February 2022. The campaign is being coordinated and led by the Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC), which is chaired by longtime TMA member Lou Fiore.

While the AICC has been in communication with the various House and Senate Committee staff with jurisdiction over telecom issues, it is important that Committee staff for the members hear from you directly – especially if you have a significant presence or customer base in their state, or even better, House members in your district. They need to know that this is a real problem that will impact the safety of life and property, as well as the safety and health of the homebound individuals who they represent.

AICC has put together a list of key members on the House and Senate Committees, as well as the Committee staff that is working on these issues and a letter template for you to send. It is important that you contact both the staff of the representatives on the key committees and the full Committee staff.

A number of you have responded to an earlier request, but we need what has been a trickle to become a flood. We are seeing some positive responses from Members of Congress, but it’s not enough. Please, if you haven’t done so, send an email as directed and ask all your employees to do the same.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Our lobbyist Bill Signer, AICC Chair Lou Fiore, or I will endeavor to assist you.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Sincerely,

Celia T. Besore
Executive Director, TMA
cbesore@tma.us | (703) 660-4913

OUR ASK:

Send the letter template, linked below, to the House and Senate representatives in states where your company does business, as well as the full Committee staff. Pass along the resources to your employees to do the same.

RESOURCES:

  1. Full Introduction Letter
  2. Contact List
  3. Letter Template
  4. Industry and Issue Backgrounder

ABOUT AICC:

The Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC), a committee of The Monitoring Association (TMA), is composed of representatives of TMA, the Electronic Security Association (ESA), the Security Industry Association (SIA) and major alarm companies and manufacturers. The AICC chair is Louis T. Fiore, L.T. Fiore, Inc. (ltfiore@aol.com).

 

12/17 Virtual Town Hall – AT&T 3G Sunset: Appeal for Extension

As many of you know, AT&T and Verizon have announced sunsets for their 3G networks. AT&T is calling for a sunset date of February 22, 2022 and Verizon is calling for a sunset of December of 2022 – 10 months later.

Join us for this special TMA Virtual Town Hall to learn what you can do to prevent 6,000,000 alarm industry radios becoming dysfunctional.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, the industry is seeking a longer transition period before AT&T sunsets its 3G network. For that reason, we are asking elected officials to reach out to AT&T and urge them to push back their sunset to December 2022 which would make AT&T’s sunset the same time as Verizon’s proposed sunset, citing the pandemic as the reason.

Because of the Coronavirus many of our members’ customers have been reluctant to have alarm technicians enter their homes and businesses to upgrade their equipment to it compatible with newer networks.

Register to attend this special Virtual Town Hall to learn more about this issue, its potential impact on your business and its customers, and how you can best support this appeal.

Our Speakers
  • Bill Springer, The Carmen Group (AICC Lobbyist)
  • Lou Fiore, Chair, AICC

REGISTER

Call your representatives! Support Industry Call for 3G Sunset Extension

As many of you know, AT&T and Verizon have announced sunsets for their 3G networks. AT&T is calling for a sunset date of February 22, 2022 and Verizon is calling for a sunset of December of 2022 – 10 months later. Because of the Coronavirus many of our customers have been reluctant to have alarm technicians enter their homes and businesses so that we can upgrade their equipment to make them compatible with newer networks.

We need your help especially if your business is headquartered in one of the following states:

AK, AZ, CA, CT, CO, FL, HI, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, NE, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV

The industry is seeking a longer transition period before AT&T sunsets its 3G network. We are asking elected officials to reach out to AT&T and urge them to push back their sunset to December 2022 which would make AT&T’s sunset the same time as Verizon’s proposed sunset, citing the pandemic as the reason.

Linked here is a spreadsheet that includes the staffers of all the members on the House and Senate Telecom Subcommittees. House Members appear first, scroll down to the second page to find Senators. Please use the staffer’s email to contact the Telecom Sub-committee member.

Ideally, if your business is headquartered in a Sub-Committee member’s district or state, we would urge you to reach out to that member. Even if your business is not located in the member’s district but are from his/her state, they will pay attention.

To find out who represents your district go to:

Please let me know if you have any questions. Our lobbyist Bill Signer or I will endeavor to assist you. Thank you in advance for your help in helping our industry.

We are asking you to send the message below to your elected officials:

Dear Representative/Senator:

The burglar and fire alarm industry is seeking your help in urging AT&T to delay the shutdown of its 3G cellular network which is currently scheduled for February 22, 2022 – a mere 16 months from now – to December 2022. This would then have both Verizon and AT&T shutting down their 3G network cellular networks at the same time.

Our industry protects the safety, and property of over 30 million homes and businesses. Additionally, many seniors depend upon us to monitor their personal emergency response systems allowing them to live at home. Many of these systems were installed using the 3G cellular network and must be upgraded, otherwise they will cease to communicate once the 3G networks are shutdown. Historically, AT&T recognized the need for an appropriate time period when it moved from 2G to 3G and provided 4 1/2 years for that transition. The industry estimates that we now have upwards of 3 times the number of 3G devices to change out as we did in the past transition.

Currently, the change-out requires an alarm technician to enter the premise and upgrade the existing equipment. Unfortunately, with the Coronavirus pandemic understandably many of our customers have been reluctant to have us enter their homes and businesses. For six months and counting this has curtailed what was to be a two year transition. Realistically, we are looking at least another nine months before we will be able to resume our normal ability to upgrade these systems.

While AT&T has been working with the industry for the development of equipment that will allow consumers to self-install equipment that would upgrade home security systems, to date that equipment is still in the testing stage. While we are hopeful that the equipment will work, we are not certain it will or whether the manufacturer will be able to meet the demand in a timely fashion.

Accordingly, we are asking you to speak directly with AT&T and urge them to move back their 3G cellular shutdown date to December 2022 and make it the same time as Verizon’s shutdown. Failure to do so will put millions of homes, businesses, and lives needlessly at risk.

Include your address on the emails that you send so they know you are a constituent.

 

 

Experiencing blocked or mislabeled calls?

TMA wants to hear from you! In response to the FCC request for examples, TMA seeks to learn how members’ communications with customers are being impacted by call blocking programs initiated by carriers to stop robocalls.  Please email cbesore@tms.us with your comments by Sept. 24th.

Please provide the following information for any instances:

  1. Whether the calls were blocked or mislabeled as fraud?
  2. What carrier did the blocking/mislabeling?
  3. When did the blocking/mislabeling occur?
  4. Were the blocked/mislabeled calls from the central station to the customer to verify the alarm signal or to the PSAP or other public safety entity to report the alarm?
  5. Did the central station contact or try to contact the carrier about the blocking/mislabeling?
  6. What was the response from the carrier?

Below, find the appropriate contacts for the different telecom providers to whom you should also report your experiences.

AT&T:

Contact AT&T by phone at  800-337-5373 (prompt 1) or via email at

dl-GFMOBusinessFra@att.com

Contact AT&T’s third party analytics company, Hiya, at https://hiyahelp.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/requests/new

 

T-Mobile:

Register in with T-Mobile at https://www.calltransparency.com.  According to T-Mobile, the Call Transparency list “allows legitimate businesses and other legitimate callers a place to provide their phone numbers and information about the traffic on those numbers.”

Report when a call has been incorrectly blocked or labeled at https://feedback.fosrvt.com/.

 

Verizon:

Register  with Verizon’s third party vendor, Transaction Network Services (TNS), at https://voicespamfeedback.com.

According to Verizon, it offers two robocall mitigation services:  (1) Call Filter for Verizon wireless customers and (2) Spam Alert for Verizon wireline residential customers.   Both services label calls based on analytics from TNS.   Customers and calling parties can report if telephone numbers are inadvertently being flagged as potential spam or fraud at the feedback website.