FCC Proposes 'New Powers' for Mobile Carriers in Effort to Combat Robocalls

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Ajit Pai, Chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission, wants to allow mobile phone companies to block robocalls by default, in the ongoing fight against call spam (via Reuters). Pai will present his proposal today, where all of the FCC commissioners are set to testify before a U.S. House panel regarding the widespread problem of robocalls.


According to Pai, carriers have avoided deploying default call-blocking tools because they have been unsure if such tools would be legal under the FCC's current rules. So, launching an initiative backed by the FCC that would encourage these companies to block robocalls by default could be a big help in preventing unwanted phone calls.
"By making it clear that such call blocking is allowed, the FCC will give voice service providers the legal certainty they need to block unwanted calls from the outset so that consumers never have to get them," Pai said.
Last year, Pai asked companies to adopt a "call authentication system" that was aimed at ending the use of illegitimate spoofed numbers, which many robocalls use to trick people into picking up the phone. This week, the chairman said that he expects major phone providers to implement such standards this year and the FCC will host a summit on July 11, 2019 to review the industry's progress.

Robocalls are a problem for users across devices created by Apple, Google, and others. While there are ways to block a number that's already called you on iOS, robocalls can repeatedly contact you using different numbers and methods, making them all the more difficult to stop.

Over the years, carriers like AT&T and Verizon have also launched their own spam protection apps that aim to warn users when a call is coming in that is likely a robocall. Still, these apps can only do so much and robocall-tracking company YouMail recently estimated that there were 48 billion unwanted calls in the U.S. in 2018, up 60 percent from 2017.

Article Link: FCC Proposes 'New Powers' for Mobile Carriers in Effort to Combat Robocalls
 
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velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
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Georgia
Even the level of call blocking provided be OOMA for the phone carriers would be an improvement. As it also zaps many political campaign and charity calls. Which are just as annoying. Although a fair number of calls still get through.

As the home phone is rarely used. I use OOMA's thermonuclear option now. Which only allows phone calls from your address book. That way only businesses I use, friends and family can get through. Known spammers gets a number disconnected message. Numbers that are in the address book or suspected SPAM. They get sent straight to voicemail. If they are legitimate. They can leave a message. Then I'll add that number to my address book. If they are not legitimate they get blacklisted. Which helps the community blacklist.

Hopefully the carriers will use or establish services like Nomorobo, use advanced systems to detect spoofed numbers, create community blacklists, allow personal blacklists and give options to send spammers a number disconnected message. Also allow a system for only contacts to get through with others dumped to voicemail. I'd even allow them to sync with the contacts on my phone for that. It's not like it matters for privacy. They already know all the numbers I call and text or who calls and texts me. As they are my carrier.

As it stands. I'd estimate three out of four calls on my cell phone are spam.
 
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B4U

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Oct 11, 2012
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Problem with Verizon’a caller ID is, they used to just show me the phone number which I can choose to ignore when the robocallers are neighborhood spoofing.
Now, all it tells me is “Wireless Caller” and not showing the phone number.
 

DotCom2

macrumors 601
Feb 22, 2009
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I was paying $1.99 a month for Nomorobo on mobile, ( I just cancelled) and while it did address spoofed fake calls, it still rang. It just identified that it was a fake call. That doesn't really do it for me. I still have to go grab my phone and look at it. I want the majority of fake calls to not get through at all!
 
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pbush25

macrumors 6502
Jun 14, 2010
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Atlanta, Georgia
Just give me the ability to block VOIP calls. That’s where these losers are calling from.

I don’t know one person that uses VOIP.
Uh... do you only make calls over 3G? If you're in a developed country and using LTE, 90% chance your call is going out VOIP so unless you don't want anyone to answer you either, maybe this isn't the best solution...
 

Ebok

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Am I the only one answering these calls, getting connected to the people trying to scam me, and the having fun with them? I honestly enjoy my games with these guys. Had a conversation with one where I just quoted lines from Shrek while the guy tried his best to get me to give him my credit card details
There’s a guy on YouTube that does this and wastes literally up to 2hrs of their time. Reason why it’s 2hrs is cause their VOIP apps disconnect automatically.
 
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neuropsychguy

macrumors 65816
Sep 29, 2008
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Great idea but with Ajit Pai behind it I'm sure there's a catch, like letting robocallers pay carriers to pass their calls through.
You might be onto something with a modification. The robocallers' payments go to the recipients of the calls instead of the carriers. Set it at something like $5 per answered call and $0.50 per ignored call.
 

Ebok

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Uh... do you only make calls over 3G? If you're in a developed country and using LTE, 90% chance your call is going out VOIP so unless you don't want anyone to answer you either, maybe this isn't the best solution...
What the hell are you talking about.

Making a call over LTE doesn’t burn your data nor are you assigned an IP to complete that call.

My iPhone already differentiates VOIP calls and regular calls.

VOIP incoming # is ALWAYS formatted like so: 1234567890

Regular/cell line # is formatted correctly: (123) 456-7890

Check out the screenshot below. Blue is normal formatting, red is all VoIP calls (whether spam or not)
 

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MY_USERNAME

macrumors newbie
Dec 21, 2017
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Great idea but with Ajit Pai behind it I'm sure there's a catch, like letting robocallers pay carriers to pass their calls through.
I’m game with that. Then they have an interest in not calling me multiple times a day multiple times a week.
 

jdiamond

macrumors 6502a
Dec 17, 2008
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Just give me the ability to block VOIP calls. That’s where these losers are calling from.

I don’t know one person that uses VOIP.
We live in an area that doesn't have conventional phone service anymore, so we use Google Fiber with OOMA for our home phone, and that's a voip phone. Do you know people with a HOME phone that don't use VOIP at this point?
 
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MisterSavage

macrumors 68000
Nov 10, 2018
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Is this a US only problem? I‘m honestly curious since I never received such a call nor would I know of someone who did.
Don't know if it's US only but I'm in the US and get several a day.

How'd that Do Not Call registry work out for y'all?
Not well. :(

I have Robocaller installed which has prevented over 90% of robocalls. A couple of them slip through the cracks here and there, for the most part has worked out well.
I cancelled my subscription. Had a bad experience where my bank needed to call me back and it turns out Robocaller was grabbing the calls. Even worse I had it set to play random bots that answer so the bank got suspicious when they kept trying to call me back.
 
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palmerc2

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Feb 29, 2008
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I cancelled my subscription. Had a bad experience where my bank needed to call me back and it turns out Robocaller was grabbing the calls. Even worse I had it set to play random bots that answer so the bank got suspicious when they kept trying to call me back.
Heh, at the beginning I had the answer bots and it was funny listening to the telemarketers get frustrated.

I realized an event could occur where someone whom I wanted to call was sent to Robocaller, and I changed it to the default answering machine. Default answer is something around the lines of "This call has been blocked using Robocaller. Leave a message after the beep and the recipient may return your call."