Help Coming on Blocking Robocalls in US

FCC's Ajit Pai wants to give phone companies more power to block robocalls

The FCC Wants Phone Providers to Block Robocalls Before Your Phone Even Rings

Right now, customers have to take the extra step of requesting tools from their carriers or downloading apps from other companies to help them weed out most unwanted calls.

Today the FCC Commission Chairman Ajit Pai proposed a rule change that would allow phone providers to block robocalls before your phone even rings.

Allowing the default call-blocking could significantly increase development and consumer adoption of the tools, Pai said, adding that providers should offer call blocking services for free. Today, some of these apps cost extra money, others are free.

"We certainly are encouraging companies to offer this for free", FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said.

A proposal by the agency would give phone companies the authority to block the calls by default before they ever get to your phone.

The FCC's efforts come in response to a growing chorus of critics who feel the US government hasn't acted swiftly or aggressively enough to punish scammers who place unwanted calls or texts to consumers - or prod telecom carriers to improve their anti-robocall technology.

Of the spam calls received, a lot of them were 'general spam, ' followed by fraud, telemarketers and robocallers.

"We chose this industry-led path because it is the fastest way to help consumers, but I remain committed to taking regulatory action" if carriers do not act this year, Pai said in a statement on Monday.

People received about 60 incoming calls from 'unrecognized numbers or numbers not linked to a person in their contact list'.

"There is no doubt that this can only help, that it's a good thing". In addition, consumers would be allowed to opt-out of any blocking services they do not want. A widely supported, bipartisan Senate bill would require carriers to verify that a number popping up on your caller ID is real. But the FCC says many voice providers have held off on developing call blocking tools because it was unclear whether those tools were legal under FCC rules.

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. The FCC reiterated last week that it expects the system for fingerprinting phone calls, known within the industry as SHAKEN/STIR, to be implemented this year.

The Senate bill would also give the FCC more power to fine the people responsible for spam calls and puts together federal agencies and state officials to figure out ways to pursue criminal cases against robocall scammers, not just civil ones.

Latest News