U.S. FCC set to let phone companies block more robocalls

Doris Richards
May 18, 2019

Voice service providers may offer opt-out call-blocking programs based on any reasonable analytics created to identify unwanted calls and will have flexibility on how to dispose of those calls, such as sending straight to voicemail, alerting the customer of a robocall, or blocking the call altogether.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wants to give mobile phone companies greater power to block unwanted robocalls. 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. A rising problem is calls that are "spoofed", meaning they disguise their identity on caller ID.

And according to Quilici, one of the challenges to stemming relentless robocalls is that companies have been reluctant to assume legal liability for blocking calls that customers wanted. "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". If the agency goes for it, this would be a major shift away from the longstanding understanding that phone networks basically connect every call that's made, with the agency essentially pressuring carriers to find a way to interrupt or block these specific kinds of calls. It's unclear how well calls like that would be kept away from consumers under the new proposal, she said.

"This blocking could be based on analytics and consumer 'white lists.'" the FCC release continues.

Reuters reports the us telecommunications regulator is expected to approve Pai's proposal at its June 6 meeting.

Allowing the default call-blocking could significantly increase development and consumer adoption of the tools, Pai said. Or for those in need of a nuclear option, the ruling could also allow consumers to prohibit calls from any number that isn't in their contact list.

We've all been there by now: Phone numbers similar to your own call you multiple times a day, only to reveal themselves as scam operations.

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 the calls.

"Today it finally proposes new policies to help block robocalls". Pai, a Republican, says he hopes it will give consumers the "peace of mind that they deserve".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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