May 2019: ICIT Fellow Dave Summitt, Chief Information Security Officer at Moffitt Cancer Center, testified during a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on April 30 entitled “Legislating to Stop the Onslaught of Annoying Robocalls.” This hearing is the most recent activity in a series of efforts supported by ICIT aimed at protecting our nation’s health sector and other critical infrastructures against the malicious use of robocalls and telephone-calling methods to gain access to, and fraudulently use, sensitive data from consumers and businesses.

In opening the hearing, Chairman Mike Doyle stated that the “hearing will examine the onslaught of illegal robocalls and seven legislative proposals to help address this harmful, predatory, and extremely annoying practice.” Chairman Doyle noted that “unwanted robocalls and texts are the top consumer complaint received by the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission,” and went on to state that the number of robocalls is estimated to reach 60 billion by the end of 2019.

In his testimony, Mr. Summitt stated that he was “here today not only on behalf of Moffitt but also for numerous other health-related organizations that have signed on with us to endorse your efforts in addressing the serious issue before you.” His ultimate goal for the testimony was “to give a voice to the hundreds of organizations that are experiencing the impact of unsolicited, fraudulent, and malicious telephone calls.”

Mr. Summitt’s testimony highlighted that robocalls are more than just a nuisance, but a true threat to critical infrastructure. He provided alarming statistics from his organization over the past 90 days to highlight the severity of the problem, noting that “During this time period we received over 6,600 external calls identified as a Moffitt internal phone number consuming a total of 65 hours of response time. Also concerning is that in one recent 30 day period, over 300 calls were made to Moffitt Cancer Center coming from the Washington DC area. Over half of these calls were from numbers that represented some form of federal agency identity…”

ICIT, along with 17 other organizations, recently signed a letter sent to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in support of these efforts and will continue to work with Mr. Summitt and the Moffitt Cancer Center to make meaningful contributions towards policy and technology advancements to defend our nation’s critical infrastructures against the malicious use of robocalls.