FCC proposes new tools to arm phone companies against robocalls

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

FCC robocall rule would finally give you a nuclear option for blocking phone spam

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.

The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday proposed granting AT&T, Verizon and other telecom carriers clearer powers to block suspected spam calls from ringing consumers' phones, a move that comes a month after robocallers dialed Americans almost 5 billion times, according to one industry estimate.

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. By making it clear that such call blocking is allowed, Pai said, the FCC will give service providers the certainty they've been missing. A bipartisan bill in the Senate, the TRACED Act, would force carriers to adopt a system in 18 months that verifies that the number that pops up on your caller ID is real.

"Allowing call blocking by default could be a big benefit for consumers who are sick and exhausted of robocalls", Pai said in a statement. According to a Wednesday release from the Federal Communications Commission, customers can opt into or out of any blocking services.

"Today it finally proposes new policies to help block robocalls".

The U.S. telecommunications regulator is expected to take action on Pai's proposal at its June 6 meeting.

Several existing applications also require a fee, but Pai says costs would be reduced under the new system because its more expensive to handle the ongoing flood of robocalls. We're working hard to implement innovative ways, like the STIR/SHAKEN standard, to stop these bad actors, and we're glad the FCC is also focused on taking aggressive action and exploring new tools to protect consumers. The FCC is pushing for phone companies to use an authentication framework for blocking unwanted calls that is dubbed "SHAKEN/STIR".

In November, Pai wrote to the chief executive officers of major providers including AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, demanding they launch the system no later than 2019 to combat robocalls. A January report from Hiya, a caller ID service, said there were 26.3 billion robocalls made in the USA in 2018.

There's little time for the phone companies to get up to speed on the proposal.

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

Many robocalls are not scam calls, though, but calls from debt collectors and telemarketers selling insurance, cruises and the like. If they were on by default, more people would naturally benefit from them.

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