Sci-tech

FCC Chairman Pushes for Default, Free Robocall Blocking

FCC Chairman Pushes for Default, Free Robocall Blocking

The proposal would establish call blocking services as a default setting for consumers. Customers would be able to opt out. Bottom line - robocalls aren't going away anytime soon.

Today the FCC Commission Chairman Ajit Pai proposed a rule change that would allow phone providers to block robocalls before your phone even rings. New call blocking technology will be able to trace the call's origin. If it does, then voice service providers can start offering automatic call-blocking services immediately.

This comes as the FCC recently has been targeting robocalls with new rules and systems to block them.

The Federal Communications Commission says it wants to help.

He said it would be comparable to the way email providers filter messages into spam folders.

In May 2018, Pai called on companies to adopt an industry-developed "call authentication system" aimed at ending the use of illegitimate spoofed numbers from the telephone system. According to YouMail, a company that blocks and tracks robocalls, there were almost 48 billion unwanted calls in the usa in 2018 and an estimated 4.9 billion last month alone. The number breaks down to an average of 10 monthly calls per person. "This is a big and bold proposal by the FCC that can bolster our industry's cutting-edge call blocking and authentication efforts and do something important: stop unwanted calls from reaching consumers in the first place". He raised the threat of regulatory action "if the companies do not take the steps necessary to protect consumers".

Not all automated calls are illegal.

"What we find is there's a range of things that people are comfortable with having blocked", he told NPR.

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Providers should clearly disclose to consumers what types of calls may be blocked.

Pai's declaratory ruling mandates that blocking should not interfere with emergency communications systems in any way.

The FCC has not yet released the specific details of its proposal - in particular, what kinds of guidelines the agency will provide companies for determining whether a call is "wanted" or "unwanted".

The Chairman also today proposed a safe harbor for call-blocking programs based on the SHAKEN/STIR framework.

The agency also said Wednesday it's making clear that carriers can let customers come up with lists of numbers that they will permit to call them.

"The number of #robocalls we get is INSANE". The FCC, she added, has wasted time holding summits and workshops "instead of holding bad actors responsible".

New measures by USA regulators could help thwart some of the billions of robocalls received in the U.S. "I sincerely hope this is not too little, too late".