Economy

John Oliver pranks the FCC to protest increasing robocalls

John Oliver pranks the FCC to protest increasing robocalls

When robocalls came up on last night's episode of John Oliver's weekly HBO late-night series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the amusing guy mentioned a Vancouver tea spot in the same breath. He theatrically unveiled it by pushing a red button that unleashed a giant hand to push an even bigger red button, sending the FCC calls with a recording of Oliver saying, "Hi, FCC".

The FCC is "definitely aware of the problem", Oliver said. Such calls to cell phones require the called party's prior express consent, but Oliver presumably directed his robocalls to the commissioners' office phones.

The comedian said robocall usage "increased by 57 percent in 2018, to almost 50 billion calls", and that they now account for more than 60 percent of all complaints received by the FCC.

On HBO's Last Week Tonight on Sunday, the comedian zoomed in on the robocalls problem, citing research that says half of mobile phone calls in the United States will soon be scam calls. Yet it hasn't done it and that's why Oliver's special robocall program contains just five phone numbers.

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"If you've been feeling like you've been getting more of them lately, you're actually right", the comedian and activist said. This is John from Customer Service.

The host aimed to drive home the point made by more than 200,000 Americans who called the agency to complain about to robocalls last year-that the calls "vary from the irritating to the outright illegal", and that the FCC must act to stop companies from continuing their usage. (Laughs) Sorry but I am a live person! "Congratulations! You've just won a chance to lower robocalls in America today", it said.

"It turns out robocalling is so easy, it only took our tech guy literally 15 minutes to work out how to do it", Oliver also said.

In November, Pai sent letters to 14 companies-including AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon-that pushed the carriers to quickly adopt an authentication system that can differentiate between legit phone calls and spoofed ones. "Talk to you again in 90 minutes-here's some bagpipe music". "This time, unlike our past encounters, I don't actually need to ask hordes of real people to bombard you with messages because, with the miracle of robocalling, I can now do it all by myself!"