Tech Firms Team With The FCC To Combat Robocalls
It is no secret that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is out to wipe robocalls from the face of the Earth forever. Last year, after making it easier for telecommunications companies to provide robocall blocking services and then encouraging these same telecom players to start offering those services free of charge just a month ago, members of the FCC recently conducted a meeting of the Robocall Strike Force (clever name though) in order to map out the next steps.
The more than 30 members of the Robocall Strike Force include major US wireless carriers Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint, tech giants Samsung, Google and Apple, as well as familiar names such as Comcast, Level 2, and Nokia. Randall Stephenson, the chief executive officer of AT&T and chief of Robocall Strike Force, the group consists of a formidable collection of mobile operators, mobile manufacturers, OS developers, and network designers, all joining forces with various US lawmakers and regulators.
This latest development should be welcome news to thousands and even millions of consumers who do not want to be bombarded with fake calls from parties pretending to be agents of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). According to Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the FCC, success in combatting robocalls can only be achieved by continuously innovating and improving protective measures. As for the specific next steps that need to be taken, it could involve urging Congress to pass a law that should minimize spoofing. Last year, an anti spoof act was already proposed, drafted in order to push for effective action against known parties found guilty of suspicious telemarketing practices.
Because the Robocall Strike Forces has just started, it may take a while for its members to come up with an extensive plan of action. However, it expected that they should be able to come up with something concrete before the end of October later this year. On top of the list of issues that need to be addressed is establishing a set of caller ID verification standards that should contribute immensely in blocking calls from spoofed phone numbers, which scammers use in tricking people into picking up calls from legitimate parties.
As revealed by Tom Wheeler, robocalls from telemarketers and scammers make up the number 1 complaint from consumers to the FCC. Back in July earlier this year, Wheeler urged the wireless industry to help the FCC in putting a stop to these practices once and for all.