In Facebook, Inc. v. Duguid (No. 19-511) (2021), the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that
The question before the Court is whether that definition encompasses equipment that can “store” and dial telephone numbers, even if the device does not “us[e] a random or sequential number generator.” It does not. To qualify as an “automatic telephone dialing system,” a device must have the capacity either to store a telephone number using a random or sequential generator or to produce a telephone number using a random or sequential number generator.
As described in the syllabus, the SCOTUS explained that
To qualify as an “automatic telephone dialing system” under the TCPA, a device must have the capacity either to store a telephone number using a random or sequential number generator, or to produce a telephone number using a random or sequential number generator. . . .The statutory context confirms that the TCPA’s autodialer defi- nition excludes equipment that does not use a random or sequential number generator. Congress found autodialer technology harmful be- cause autodialers can dial emergency lines randomly or tie up all of the sequentially numbered phone lines at a single entity. Facebook’s interpretation of §227(a)(1)(A) better matches the scope of the TCPA to these specific concerns. Duguid’s interpretation, on the other hand, would encompass any equipment that stores and dials telephone numbers. Third, Duguid broadly construes the TCPA’s privacy-protection goals. But despite Congress’ general concern about intrusive telemarketing practices, Congress ultimately chose a precise autodialer definition. Finally, Duguid argues that a random or sequential number generator is a “senescent technology,” i.e., one likely to become outdated quickly. That may or may not be the case, but either way, this Court cannot rewrite the TCPA to update it for modern technology. Congress’ chosen definition of an autodialer requires that the equipment in question must use a random or sequential number generator. That definition excludes equipment like Facebook’s login notification system, which does not use such technology.
The SCOTUS concluded
We hold that a necessary feature of an autodialer under §227(a)(1)(A) is the capacity to use a random or sequential number generator to either store or produce phone numbers to be called. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.