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FCC Still Fighting Robo-Calls

Published On January 7, 2021 | By Tom Huskerson | News and Analysis

The FCC has stepped up the fight against robocalls by adopting more and more measures to fight the scourge. The latest set of rules includes limiting non-telemarketing calls made to residential phones. Non-commercial, commercial and nonprofit organizations are now only permitted to call residential numbers three times within 30 days and are required to allow recipients to opt out. The FCC did not limit non-telemarketing calls before this change. Now the commission has introduced  new rules for voice service providers. These providers are now required to respond to traceback requests for illegal call sources from the commission and from law enforcement.

Phone carriers are also required to investigate illegal calls identified by the commission and to take steps to mitigate those calls if they come to the same conclusion. The FCC rules demand carriers “exercise due diligence in ensuring that their services are not used to originate illegal traffic.” Aside from implementing those new rules, the FCC has expanded safe harbors for providers to eliminate legal liability for network-level call blocking. That said, providers must only target calls that “highly likely to be illegal, not simply unwanted” and must use human oversight.

In an effort to be more transparent, the FCC requires providers to notify callers if they’ve been blocked. Phone companies must also provide subscribers with a list of blocked calls upon request and provide a status update on call blocking disputes within 24 hours.

Breaking it down

This is a valiant and ongoing effort. But it is a battle that is not likely to end in victory but more likely a stalemate. The way these calls originate is over the internet. That means they could be coming from anywhere in the world. These calls enter the country via the internet and into the phone networks. Its almost impossible to stop. Yes, the FCC can impose new rules but its not likely to have much impact without an effective technical fix to the problem. There must be some technology that forms a gateway or method that identifies the source and volume of the call much like the way a website can detect a DDoS attack. When a DDoS attack occurs the website owner has a plan in place to block the source of the attack. The same needs to happen with robocalls. The share the same technology profile; a million signals from one source.  That is a simplified solution and I am not sure it will work. But we have to try something. Kudos to the FCC for at least putting up a fight!


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About The Author

Tom Huskerson Bio Born in Richmond Virginia Tom Huskerson is a military veteran who settled in California after his discharge. Tom attended Santa Barbara City College where he began his writing career as a campus reporter. He worked as an intern news reporter for the Santa Barbara News-Press writing feature stories before moving on to San Francisco. At San Francisco State University Tom studied broadcast communications and began to focus on the Internet. He completed his graduate thesis on Internet advertising. Tom was the first student to ever focus on the Internet as a graduate student at San Francisco State University. After graduation he went to work for Zona Research in California’s Silicone Valley. As a research associate Tom supported senior analyst writing on the latest developments in the Internet industry. During the dot com boom Tom worked for several web businesses as a market researcher and analyst. As a writer and researcher Tom has authored various technical works including a training program for Charles Schwab security. Other projects included professional presentations on workplace violence and hiring security contractors. Tom has also written both fiction and non-fiction works and blogging for a travel website. He has published two books of short stories and completed two novels. Tom is the owner of Scribe of Life Literature and Tom is not the chief editor for the OnTechStreet. com. A news and information blog that focuses on tech news for African-Americans. The blog is the result of his desire to inform the African American community of the dangers and benefits of the cyber age. In his blog Tom reports on information security, new and analysis, scams and hoaxes, legal happenings and various topics that arise from the age of information. Tom believes that technology is a necessary tool for black people and they should know what is happening. Tom writes believing that techno speak is for the professional and that valuable information can be communicated using plain language. As a result he has embraced the motto, Less Tech, More Knowledge.

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