FCC finally makes an effort at blocking robocalls

Phone companies would be encouraged to block spam calls under FCC proposal

Customers would be able to opt out. Bottom line - robocalls aren't going away anytime soon. He has circulated a declaratory ruling that, if adopted, would allow phone companies to block unwanted calls to their customers by default. Allowing default call blocking by voice providers could significantly increase development and consumer adoption of such tools.

Chairman Ajit Pai made another aggressive move towards eradicating unwanted robocalls once and for all. "It is the top complaint we receive from consumers each and every year", FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told reporters.

Currently, consumers often must elect to use carriers' robocall-blocking tools, some of them costing a monthly fee, which means "fewer people are using these services", Pai said.

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

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

The number of unwanted robocalls skyrocketed 46% from 2017 to 2018.

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The FCC has previously encouraged companies to take firmer action against scam robocalls.

"While there may not be a silver bullet that entirely ends these activities, we're fully committed to fighting the scourge of robocalls", it said in a statement. Under the framework, calls travelling through interconnected phone networks would be "signed" as legitimate by originating carriers and validated by other carriers before reaching consumers. But other types are less clear.

People received about 60 incoming calls from 'unrecognized numbers or numbers not linked to a person in their contact list'. It's unclear how well calls like that would be kept away from consumers under the new proposal, she said.

According to a news release from the FCC released Wednesday, many providers had held off on developing and implementing call-blocking tools by default because they weren't sure if it was legal under the FCC's rules to implement them.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said this week that the FCC should "require call authentication technology" and "make available free tools to consumers to block these calls".

New measures by USA regulators could help thwart some of the billions of robocalls received in the U.S. "I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this latest attack on unwanted robocalls and spoofing". All of the agency's new anti-robocall efforts will be teed up for a vote at its next meeting on June 6.

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