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posted by Fnord666 on Monday July 17, @01:36AM   Printer-friendly
from the follow-the-money dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

The Federal Communications Commission wants to crack down on unwanted "robocalls" and is looking at ways to help consumers block them.

The FCC wants to put an end to annoying unwanted robocalls.

On Thursday, the commission voted unanimously to evaluate a system that would allow phone companies to check if a number calling you is legit. The goal is to deter unscrupulous companies that make these automated calls from "spoofing," or using a fake phone number to trick you into answering their calls.

A call authentication system could help improve third-party apps that allow consumers to block these calls. It could also open the door to phone companies that may want to offer a service to block unwanted calls.

The FCC has already been considering rules that would allow phone companies to block robocalls from unassigned numbers or from numbers that don't exist.

Ridding the world of robocalls entirely is tricky since some legitimate communications are made using automated call technology, such as messages from schools, weather alerts, public utilities or political organizations. Phone companies don't want to block legitimate calls that consumers want to receive.

[...] The FCC has also been stepping up its enforcement of illegal robocalls. Separately, it voted 2-1 to fine a New Mexico-based company $2.88 million for making unlawful robocalls. Last month, the FCC fined a Florida resident $120 million for allegedly making almost 100 million illegal robocalls in a three-month period.

-- submitted from IRC


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  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @02:05AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @02:05AM (#540124)

    Can't a woman walk down the street without being offered a job?

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @02:30AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @02:30AM (#540129)

      Hahahaha a gender flipped Simpsons quote gets modded Troll.

  • (Score: 2) by SomeGuy on Monday July 17, @02:23AM (3 children)

    by SomeGuy (5632) on Monday July 17, @02:23AM (#540126)

    > The Federal Communications Commission wants to crack down on unwanted "robocalls" and is looking at ways to help consumers block them.

    That is the best laugh I have had in a while. Just recently I was getting bombarded by robocalls from the Jon Asshat Ossoff campaign. Pure conjecture, but it sounded like they were using a telemarketing (probably Indian) company for some of that and once the election ended these folks realized they had a bunch of "good" numbers and then turned around using them for IRS scam robocalls.

    > A call authentication system could help improve third-party apps that allow consumers to block these calls.

    App? Oh, I see, for retarded consumertardastic "smart" phones only. Probably getting some kickback from Apple or something. So POTS users or "dumb" cell phone users are still fucked?

    • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @02:38AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @02:38AM (#540133)

      POTS user is grandma who will reverse mortgage her house to any caller who asks nicely.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @04:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @04:06PM (#540360)

      So POTS users or "dumb" cell phone users are still fucked?

      You seem to recognize negative consequence of certain choices.

    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Monday July 17, @07:14PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday July 17, @07:14PM (#540495) Homepage Journal

      I don't answer any number that doesn't have a name attached. If you're not in my address book and it's important, leave a voice mail. So I never get phone scams, polls, or sales pitches. Occasionally a robot will accidentally leave a blank voicemail that I simply delete.

      Try it, it works.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by jmorris on Monday July 17, @02:37AM

    by jmorris (4844) Subscriber Badge <{jmorris} {at} {beau.org}> on Monday July 17, @02:37AM (#540131)

    Think about it. Put in a *XX number to report unsolicited commercial call, i.e. SPAM and cut a PSA. Regardless what number shows on caller ID, the real number that originated is available to any trunk customer, thus available to any telco. Pick a threshhold of say a dozen reports on a number in a week and then task a human to investigate. The offender's telco gets to police their customers but if a telco goes rogue everyone else can blacklist first the reported numbers and finally the telco, kinda like an old UseNet Death Penalty. When a customer is found to be scamming, no more phone service in that name for five years. Incorporating under a new name costs more than you could bring in before being cut off.

    Scam/spam calls drop almost instantly as the small fry die, leaving plenty of resources to track down the hard core scammers. Two months from nightmare to solved problem. I'm no genius so we can assume this idea has occurred to the phone companies. But scammers buy lots of telco service and they would stop paying if they couldn't scam, meanwhile you buy one line and only bitch at the scam calls and pay your bill because you can't imagine life without carrying a LoJack. As with most things, ignore what people say and follow the money. Money is truthful.

  • (Score: 2) by Arik on Monday July 17, @02:58AM (1 child)

    by Arik (4543) on Monday July 17, @02:58AM (#540138)
    "On Thursday, the commission voted unanimously to evaluate a system that would allow phone companies to check if a number calling you is legit. The goal is to deter unscrupulous companies that make these automated calls from "spoofing," or using a fake phone number to trick you into answering their calls."

    My bullshit detector is screaming "that's a 'tell.'"

    They're only able to spoof because the phone company created a system that allows it. The phone companies continue to allows it because they make money off it. They don't need anyone else to 'allow' them to solve a problem of their own creation.

    --
    "Unix? These savages aren't even circumcised!"
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by jmorris on Monday July 17, @03:16AM

      by jmorris (4844) Subscriber Badge <{jmorris} {at} {beau.org}> on Monday July 17, @03:16AM (#540148)

      Well no, they allow it because they really do need to allow it. Many PBX systems and such depend on being able to set the caller id fields. It really does make sense to have caller ID display a different number than the particular number associated with the line making a call in many situations. Calling cards also make use of it, not that they are used a lot these days. You really need to build/work with a system that interconnects to the PSTN before having an informed opinion. Or study a lot of books you probably would never read unless you were planning on doing so. Research the difference between ANI and caller id and what each is used for in the parts of the network other than the end points.

      But see my other post, they could fix this anytime they wanted it fixed. They make money from the current situation, they like that money more than the almost non-existent push back from customers and regulators.

  • (Score: 2) by Some call me Tim on Monday July 17, @04:48AM

    by Some call me Tim (5819) on Monday July 17, @04:48AM (#540178)

    How about distributing the money collected in fines to the people who were called? $ 1.2 million each, tax free. That would be one hell of stimulus package! I know I'd be putting a lot of people to work to fix up my house.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Snotnose on Monday July 17, @07:17AM (4 children)

    by Snotnose (1623) on Monday July 17, @07:17AM (#540211)

    Ridding the world of robocalls entirely is tricky since some legitimate communications are made using automated call technology, such as messages from schools, weather alerts, public utilities or political organizations.

    Lessee, number of calls I've gotten from schools, weather alerts, or public utilities. Zero. Goose Egg. Nada.

    Number of calls I've gotten from political organizations? At times, 4-5 per day.

    Guess who makes the rules on who can robocall me? The politicians. The worst abusers of the system get to say it's ok for them to abuse the system.

    Fucking assholes.

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday July 17, @11:53AM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 17, @11:53AM (#540261)

      such as messages from schools

      We get those, and they are not legit at all.

      "We spent a lot of money on this, better use it" next thing you know we're getting weekly robo spam calls about teaching your child about bullying on the internet and how to avoid pr0n online (LOL) and similar useless filler.

      I can see the point that if they ever needed the system the time to run it for the first time wouldn't be when they need it for a sudden closing or natural disaster. But the filler they send, ugh.

      There's a name for the crap they robocall out, but I forget. Basically they concern troll us, who could possibly disagree with the smarmy politically correct message that texting while driving is bad. Well, that's nice, but its not worth interruption the day of thousands of parents to tell them useless crap like that. Its not really agitprop other than the occasional scare tactic message around tax increase time and stranger danger.

    • (Score: 2) by Nuke on Monday July 17, @12:59PM

      by Nuke (3162) on Monday July 17, @12:59PM (#540280)

      Ridding the world of robocalls entirely is tricky since some legitimate communications are made using automated call technology, such as messages from .... political organizations.

      Since "the world" was mentioned here, calls from political organisations are NOT legitimate communications everywhere in the world. They have no different status in eg the UK from any other cold call.

      FTFA:-

      The FCC wants to put an end to annoying unwanted robocalls.

      Too many adjectives - is that a deliberate get-out? Some robotcalling outfit will claim that they will still be allowed because their calls are not "annoying" or "unwanted".

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @02:14PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @02:14PM (#540310)

      Pretty much. T-Mobile has started to label certain things as likely scams, which helps, but realistically, this should have been addressed years ago. At this point, only businesses and great fools answer the phone if they don't recognize the number.

      This is itself probably a bit too little too late to be of any practical value.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 18, @12:43AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 18, @12:43AM (#540668)

      Drain the swamp! MAGA!

  • (Score: 1) by noneof_theabove on Monday July 17, @01:05PM (1 child)

    by noneof_theabove (6189) on Monday July 17, @01:05PM (#540282)

    It could also open the door to phone companies that may want to offer a service to block unwanted calls.

    'nuf said.

    Filthy rich wall street bastards want more.

    They need to wipe their mouth off with toilet paper like K Conway.

    The initial central office connection knows if the caller id matches what they have and thus reject mismatches.
    Now internet VOIP will have a bit of a challenge but it is not impossible because the connection contains the IP of the caller and they can match that to their records.
    For either system it might take an additional 1 second to initiate the call or return a message "We're sorry, your caller id does not match your assigned number. Please call customer support for assistance".
    This would be a wise choice to protect them from "aiding and abetting" criminal active. [I'm not a congress critter, law enforcement, lawyer]

    --I used to put a Grant [$50] under the mattress every payday for the retirement fairy, but that pissed of the marketing association because they did not get my last wooden nickel.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 18, @06:18AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 18, @06:18AM (#540819)

      The unholy fusion of government force and unaccountable corporate entities is called "mercantilism", and it has a looong sordid history in sorry human affairs. It is anything but a free market.

      Calling it "capitalism" is ignorant, if not deceptive.

  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Monday July 17, @02:41PM (1 child)

    by DannyB (5839) on Monday July 17, @02:41PM (#540324)

    The Federal Communications Commission wants to crack down on unwanted "robocalls"

    So I take it they're not going after wanted robocalls. Not sweeping up the good with the bad. Not throwing the bath water out with the baby. Like how the FTC wouldn't make spam illegal because some people might want spam. (eg, the marketing people wanted spam, but they wanted to be sending it)

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