Today The Senate Passed a Bill to Let The FCC Go After Illegal Robocalls





couple of people texting on phone

couple of people texting on phoneEarlier today, the United States Senate passed a bill to block robocalls called the TRACED Act. This act will allow the FCC to use new tools to track down companies behind robocalls and shut them down.

“The TRACED Act is Congress’s most meaningful anti-robocall action since it enacted the national “Do Not Call” registry many years ago. Consumers will benefit from the legislation, which includes penalties against illegal robocallers and enhanced industry-government coordination on tracing back illegal calls. More importantly, signing the TRACED Act into law will help us begin to restore consumers’ trust in caller ID. Verizon has long been a proponent of this legislation, and on behalf of our customers, we’re thrilled to see it cross the finish line.” Verizon said in a statement on its website.

Recently the FCC voted to make it clear that phone companies can block robocalls before they ever reach your phone. This will allow providers to filter spam robocalls without fear of any FCC rule violation. Some had worried that blocking these calls would violate some FCC rules, but now that is no longer a concern.

“Specifically, the Commission approved a Declaratory Ruling to affirm that voice service providers may, as the default, block unwanted calls based on reasonable call analytics, as long as their customers are informed and have the opportunity to opt out of the blocking.  This action empowers providers to protect their customers from unwanted robocalls before those calls even reach the customers’ phones.  While many phone companies now offer their customers call blocking tools on an opt-in basis, the Declaratory Ruling clarifies that they can provide them as the default, thus allowing them to protect more consumers from unwanted robocalls and making it more cost-effective to implement call blocking programs.” The FCC said in a statement posted on their website.

The FCC has also approved the use of two new systems called STIR and SHAKEN to identify these robocalls.

“Consumers want and need reliable caller ID information.  That’s why we must move aggressively to combat spoofed robocalls,” said Chairman Pai.  “I’ve repeatedly demanded that major voice service providers implement a strong call authentication framework this year.  I want to hear from them on the progress they’ve made toward meeting this goal.  We chose this industry-led path because it is the fastest way to help consumers, but I remain committed to taking regulatory action—action for which we’ve already laid the groundwork—if major carriers do not implement the SHAKEN/STIR framework this year.”

STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited) and SHAKEN (Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) standards to identify authentic calls across both company’s networks. T-Mobile already has this standard live and Comcast has announced plans to roll it out later this year.

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