Monday, 27 May, 2019

FCC directive gives mobile carriers more power to block robocalls

FCC's Ajit Pai wants to give phone companies more power to block robocalls FCC robocall rule would finally give you a nuclear option for blocking phone spam
Sandy Mccarthy | 18 May, 2019, 04:39

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wants phone companies to start voluntarily blocking robocalls to their customers by default, for free. If it does, then voice service providers can start offering automatic call-blocking services immediately.

Along with analytics, companies could also allow customers to submit a so-called "white list" of allowable numbers, which would rely on existing contacts. "Call blocking by default is an important distinction because many voice service providers offer call-blocking programs only on an opt-in basis". "And we believe that we need to make it easier for phone companies to block these robocalls".

“Allowing call blocking by default could be a big benefit for consumers who are sick and exhausted of robocalls.

The full FCC still needs to vote on the proposal at a meeting scheduled for June 6. The FCC is pushing for phone companies to use an authentication framework for blocking unwanted calls that is dubbed "SHAKEN/STIR". Indeed, the number of such unwanted calls soared from 29 billion in 2016 to nearly 48 billion past year, according to an estimate by YouMail Inc. that's also been cited by the Federal Communications Commission. In addition, the protocol would allow for faster tracing of illegal robocalls.

"While there may not be a silver bullet that entirely ends these activities, we're fully committed to fighting the scourge of robocalls", it said in a statement. The systems would include protections against blocking emergency calls, and consumers would be able to opt-out of call blocking if they wish.

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Pai said many service providers have held off developing and deploying default call-blocking tools because of uncertainty about whether the tools are legal under the FCC rules. A bipartisan bill in the Senate, the TRACED Act, would force carriers to adopt a system in 18 months that verifies that the number that pops up on your caller ID is real.

People received about 60 incoming calls from 'unrecognized numbers or numbers not linked to a person in their contact list'.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said this week the FCC should require call authentication technology and make available free tools to consumers to block calls.

"The number of #robocalls we get is INSANE".

"Today it finally proposes new policies to help block robocalls. I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this latest attack on unwanted robocalls and spoofing".

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