John Raoux / AP
If the government's new plan works, the number of robocalls you receive may go down in the near future.
The Federal Communications Commission proposes to push telephone companies to "block unwanted calls to their customers by default."
If adopted, the proposal would not commit telephone companies to impose standard dialing blocks. But it would protect telecom providers from legal responsibility to block specific calls.
"The American people are tired of illegal robokals. It is the biggest complaint we receive from consumers every year," said FCC chairman Ajit Pai to the reporters. "And we think we must make it easier for telephone companies to block these "This would be a big change from now on as customers usually have to opt for unwanted call blocking. Under the proposal," carriers would only be allowed to consumers who do not want that type of service to opt out, "said Pai.
He said it would be comparable to the way email providers filter messages in spam folders. / STIR. "It's a way for telephone companies to verify that a call actually comes from where a caller ID says it is.
The call-blocking company YouMail issues estimates of nationwide robocalls every month. It estimates that there were 4.9 billion calls placed in April 2019 – a speed of 14.9 calls per person.
"Our belief is now that over half of the robo calls out there are scams," said Alex Quilici, a robokelle expert and CEO of YouMail, to NPR. An increasing problem is conversations that are "spoofed", which means they disguise their identity on the caller ID.
USTelecom, a trading group representing telecommunications providers, applauded the FCC's proposal.
"The criminals who swindle consumers with this flood of illegal robocols must be confronted by industry and government on the main," CEO and CEO Jonathan Spalter said in a statement. "This is a big and bold proposal from the FCC that can boost our industry's groundbreaking blocking and authentication efforts and make something important: stop unwanted conversations from reaching consumers in the first place."
In the past, the FCC has encouraged companies to take firmer action against scams.
But it can be a challenge for businesses to find out which robotic real-world scams are and which contain information that a consumer will want, such as automatic school termination calls.
And, according to Quilici, one of the challenges of stomping relentless robotics is that companies have been reluctant to assume legal responsibility to block conversations the customers wanted.
"What we find there are a number of things that people are comfortable with having blocked," he told the NPR.
Quilici said it is safe to assume that everyone wants to block fraudulent calls. But other types are less clear. For example, some people will receive automatic payment reminders from credit card companies, while others may prefer to block such calls.
And then there are extreme examples, he added, who could have made providers reluctant to embrace sweeping acts in the past that could expose them to legal responsibility: "There is fear that you are blocking a number and that is grandmother calling and she has a heart attack. "
" It is very important that the proposal makes it clear that emergency and other vital calls are not blocked and that the carriers provide consumers with plenty of information about these services and methods "Pai told reporters.
The FCC has not yet released the specific details of its proposal – especially the types of guidelines the agency will give companies to determine whether a call is "wanted" or "unwanted".
Will Wiquist, a spokesman for the FCC, said the call-blocking programs "would be based on sensible analysis, such as current call-blocking apps." He said the analyzes are aimed at stopping scams and looking for patterns such as "flooding of conversations in the network or many short-term conversations." Wiquist added that the proposal would allow flexibility on what to block or for customers to opt out altogether.
The FCC's proposal will also allow providers to offer customers an even more aggressive form of blocking than the default option. If passed, customers can choose a filter system that only allows calls from numbers in their contacts, called a "white list".
# robocalls we get is INSANE. For a long time, @ FCC has spent time holding workshops and summits instead of holding bad actors responsible, "said FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel who is a democrat.
"Today, it finally suggests new guidelines for blocking robococks. I really hope this is not too little, too late."
The FCC will consider the proposal at a meeting on June 6. Pai, a Republican, says he hopes it will give consumers the "peace of mind they deserve."