Sci-tech

FCC proposes blocking robocalls by default

FCC proposes blocking robocalls by default”

"My questions go to how much it helps", said Margot Saunders, senior counsel for the National Consumer Law Center and an expert on robocalls. It's unclear how well calls like that would be kept away from consumers under the new proposal, she said. But it would shield telecom providers from legal liability for blocking certain calls. In addition, the protocol would allow for faster tracing of illegal robocalls.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai proposed new rules to combat robocalls. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) knows that rampant robocalls are a problem in this country and made a proposal this week that could help out.

The FCC is seeking to broaden the uptick of call blocking services, which customers must now engage in voluntarily, as well as empower providers to further develop the technology. Furthermore, service providers must provide sufficient information so consumers can decide whether or not they want to remain in the program or opt out.

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

Pai has also been urging phone carriers to adopt an authentication system, dubbed SHAKEN/STIR, which can differentiate between legit phone calls and spoofed ones. It's a way for phone companies to verify that a call is actually coming from where a caller ID says it is.

YouMail, a company that blocks robocalls and tracks them, estimated there were 4.9 billion unwanted usa calls last month after almost 48 billion in 2018, which was up almost 60 percent over 2017. It estimates there were 4.9 billion calls placed in April 2019 - a rate of 14.9 calls per person. He raised the threat of regulatory action "if the companies do not take the steps necessary to protect consumers".

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

The idea put forward by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai - and pending approval from the agency's commissioners - encourages carriers to enable their anti-robocall technology by default, as opposed to waiting for consumers to turn on those features themselves.

What's more, as people in the US get a barrage of spam calls, many are increasingly choosing not to answer the phone at all.

In a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking draft, Pai outlines a policy that would create a safe harbor for providers that implement network-wide blocking of calls that fail caller authentication under the SHAKEN/STIR framework. Wiquist added that the proposal would allow for flexibility about what to block, or for customers to opt out altogether.

Along with analytics, companies could also allow customers to submit a so-called "white list" of allowable numbers, which would rely on existing contacts.

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

One study says Americans received more than 26 billion robocalls a year ago. "I sincerely hope this is not too little, too late". At its June 6 meeting, the USA telecommunications regulator is expected to take action on Pai's proposal.



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