The FCC voted today to allow carriers to “aggressively block unwanted robocalls” before they reach your phone. Carriers can, by default, block calls based on reasonable call analytics so long as customers are informed and able to opt-out of this blocking if they want. Many carriers already offer a robocall blocking service, but now they’re empowered to make those services the default.
Today’s ruling also says that carriers may offer their customers the opportunity to opt-in to services that block calls from any number that doesn’t appear on a “white list”, like a contacts list.
Finally, the FCC today also announced a proposition that would require carriers to implement the SHAKEN and STIR caller ID authentication framework if the carriers don’t do so on their own by the end of 2019. SHAKEN and STIR are technologies that help fight number spoofing by verifying that an incoming call is from the phone number that it says it is. Some carriers have already begun rolling out SHAKEN and STIR support, but not all have.
While all of the FCC commissioners approved of these robocall fighting measures, some of them aren’t completely happy with the ruling. Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel issued a statement explaining that while it’s good that the carriers are authorized to offer robocall blocking by default, the FCC ruling does not prevent carriers from charging customers for this robocall blocking tech.
“I think robocall solutions should be free to consumers. Full stop. I do not think that this agency should pat itself on the back for its efforts to reduce robocalls and then tell consumers to pay up,” Commissioner Rosenworcel said. “They are already paying the price—in scams flooding our phone lines; wasted time responding to false and fraudulent calls offering us what we did not ask for, do not want, and do not need; and a growing distrust in our most basic communications.”
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