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posted by Fnord666 on Saturday June 05, @02:52AM   Printer-friendly

FCC fight against robocalls goes international:

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on Thursday that it has signed an agreement with its Australian counterpart to work together to fight robocalls.

The signing of the "Memorandum of Understanding" with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is the latest in a number of moves the FCC has made to combat robocalls in recent months.

The agreement seeks for the two agencies to "work together to develop and coordinate a global approach to addressing unlawful robocalls or robotexts, and the unlawful use of inaccurate caller ID information or 'spoofing,' the FCC said.

"Robocall scams are a global problem that require global commitment and cooperation," Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. "With these irritating calls coming from near and far, we need international cooperation, information sharing, and enforcement to address this matter. I want to thank our Australian friends for working with us on this agreement. By joining together we can help get these scammers off of our networks and protect consumers and businesses around the world."


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @03:04AM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @03:04AM (#1141947)

    Simply let companies block such calls then people will flock to those that do it effectively.

    FCC regulations make that illegal, so no one does it.

    https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=18/10/11/0347213 [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by fustakrakich on Saturday June 05, @03:13AM (3 children)

      by fustakrakich (6150) on Saturday June 05, @03:13AM (#1141948) Journal

      No, don't let the companies block anything. They are a common carrier. Just stop letting them pass spoofed numbers or block caller ID. Then we can block the calls at our end

      --
      Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
      • (Score: 4, Funny) by Runaway1956 on Saturday June 05, @03:31AM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 05, @03:31AM (#1141953) Homepage Journal

        There's an app for that. Install RoboBlock, and watch it upload your telephone number to every robocaller on earth.

        --
        Make an actual interesting, germane, and relevant point and you may get away with Flamebait - 'Zumi
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by bzipitidoo on Saturday June 05, @10:19PM (1 child)

        by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 05, @10:19PM (#1142167) Journal

        This. That it has ever been possible to so easily spoof phone numbers is messed up. The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. There's no good technical reason for that to be possible, which means the reasons are political.

        To use a car analogy, it's as if you could get out of a speeding ticket by taping a piece of paper with different, lower numbers over the numbers on your speedometer.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @11:42PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @11:42PM (#1142958)

          Or by changing your license plate number with a marker.

  • (Score: 2) by inertnet on Saturday June 05, @10:28AM (5 children)

    by inertnet (4071) on Saturday June 05, @10:28AM (#1142007)

    I have recently started blocking entire countries because of robocalls. I never publicly share my phone number, so some contacts who do have my number must have been hacked. Very annoying.

    • (Score: 2) by crafoo on Saturday June 05, @10:32AM

      by crafoo (6639) on Saturday June 05, @10:32AM (#1142008)

      the carrier could have been hacked too. I remember one instance where ATT had lists of customers accessible from a public web server, no password, nothing.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by looorg on Saturday June 05, @12:03PM

      by looorg (578) on Saturday June 05, @12:03PM (#1142023)

      If you just recently started they already have your number, those are kept forever. Once on a list you are never taken off. Those numbers and lists get sold over and over again.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by mcgrew on Saturday June 05, @03:23PM (2 children)

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday June 05, @03:23PM (#1142056) Homepage Journal

      I simply don't answer unknown numbers; it's not 1984 any more, calls come with names now. If it's just a number I let it ring, and if it's someone who really needs to communicate they can leave a voicemail.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by fustakrakich on Saturday June 05, @03:50PM (1 child)

        by fustakrakich (6150) on Saturday June 05, @03:50PM (#1142062) Journal

        Exactly, whitelisting solves the problem entirely, except for the spoofed numbers thing, and that is the telcos fault for allowing it.

        --
        Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @10:15PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @10:15PM (#1142166)

          Not until shaken/stir get fully implemented.

          Caller-id, sans shaken/stir, is unauthenticated, and what you see on your phone is what the call initiator told the network their number was. Or in other words, the robocaller can tell your phone to display *any* number they choose.

          Now, usually, the robocallers will not know that your buddy's number is 123-456-7890 and so they are not likely to randomly pick that as the caller-id they provide. But, given enough people whitelisting numbers, they will start to find ways to find out numbers you are likely to answer, so they can get you to answer.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @10:58AM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @10:58AM (#1142011)

    If robocalls are a global problem, then how come I've never in my life ever received one? Maybe something about how the UK and Norway manage or regulate their phone networks makes such behaviour unprofitable?

    • (Score: 2) by choose another one on Saturday June 05, @11:26AM

      by choose another one (515) on Saturday June 05, @11:26AM (#1142015)

      Yes it is global.

      I _am_ in the UK, and I have lost count of the number of [robotic voiced] Amazon Prime subscription renewals and IPhone deliveries I've had that are going to charge my credit card (in dollars!) unless I press whatever to talk to an agent.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by theluggage on Saturday June 05, @11:57AM (3 children)

      by theluggage (1797) on Saturday June 05, @11:57AM (#1142021)

      If robocalls are a global problem, then how come I've never in my life ever received one?

      Maybe you're just lucky?

      I'm in the UK and, while calling them a "plague" might be an overstatement I've received more than enough to prove they exist, including about four last week in which an obviously robotic voice informed me that my internet connection was about to be cut off due to illegal activity. (Presumably if I'd have hung on I'd have been transferred to a human operator who would have talked me though installing some special anti virus software to fix the problem...) - that's actually pretty evil because it would be pretty frightening for a vulnerable person.

      ...and that's not counting the ones with more convincing recorded human voices, or even actual live humans (after a long suspicious pause while the robot decides that you are actually live and transfers the call). There's is the Telephone Preference Service (or whatever it is called now) which cuts out "genuine" businesses who just think that their sales are more important than your bath, but the problem is that the actual criminals don't actually obey the rules (it's kinda in the job description).

      But the ones that really, really make me angry - and the ones that I can be bothered to argue with are the genuine calls from banks, utilities, phone companies etc. who haven't got it through their thick corporate heads that nobody with a brain cell will discuss personal details with a cold caller and that it is completely irresponsible of them to encourage people to do so, and that the "security questions*" that they use to identify me don't allow me to identify them. Sure, they'll never actually, specifically ask for my PIN, but if I've just been interrupted in mid-thought by a phone call I don't want to engage in a mental chess game with experienced con artist.

      (* Can we ban those too, please? For the benefit of those who's mother's maiden name wasn't syZyG13467%k;^54khtX& ?)

      • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Saturday June 05, @05:30PM (1 child)

        by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 05, @05:30PM (#1142084)

        We started getting them after a data breach at our telecoms provider (TalkTalk) some years back. A good mix of actual-person calls and a few robocalls. Early ones often pretended to be TalkTalk, but later ones have been robocalls warning us that our subscription to service X is about to be cancelled. The number of calls has dwindled over the years since that breach.

        My favoured reaction (especially with real-person phishing calls) is to chat conversationally with them in a language other than English, until they decide to hang up.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by kazzie on Saturday June 05, @05:42PM

          by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 05, @05:42PM (#1142090)

          P.S. This was all complicated by the fact that our service *did* get cut off because a gentleman living nearby mis-typed their telephone number as ours when they decided to switch providers. We kept getting "sorry you're leaving" transfer letters from our provider, which we cancelled each time, but the other person kept re-requesting the transfer each time "someone" cancelled it for him. Our provider was never told who was making the requests, so couldn't rectify the error at the other end.

          Our service eventually did get cut off when the goodbye letter arrived while we were on holiday, and didn't cancel it in time. Chasing that involved our provider telling us whhich provider they'd transferred the service to, and us explaining to them that they'd transferred a number that belonged to someone else. Apparently they had a bit of a job explaining to the gentleman that "no, we weren't stopping them from transferring their number" , but stopping them from transferring ours. Oh, what fun!

      • (Score: 2) by sjames on Sunday June 06, @04:32AM

        by sjames (2882) on Sunday June 06, @04:32AM (#1142252) Journal

        Four such calls in a day would be a light load for my POTS line. I never answer unless someone starts leaving a message and I recognize them. Most of the callers don't bother with a message at all.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @02:18PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @02:18PM (#1142039)

      It's been much worse in the past few years. If you are a private person who lives a private life, you might not have gotten any (I haven't on my personal cell line, but my business and home lines do).

  • (Score: 1) by crunchy_one on Saturday June 05, @02:52PM (1 child)

    by crunchy_one (7884) on Saturday June 05, @02:52PM (#1142050)

    Add to the plague of scammy robocalls, the fact that "legitimate" businesses are having a look and saying to themselves, "gee, I'd like to get a slice of that," and you've got a clusterfuck of magnificent proportions coming to roll over everyone.

    Take, for instance, my health insurance carrier. Lately they've been bombarding me with "health reminders" that involve robocalling me at random times and then connecting me with a faulty voice response system. I've tried to opt out, but guess what? That just connects me with another faulty voice response system.

    This shit's gotta stop.

    • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Saturday June 05, @03:53PM

      by fustakrakich (6150) on Saturday June 05, @03:53PM (#1142064) Journal

      Block their number, and I'm afraid you'll have to change your insurance to somebody less intrusive. Happy hunting

      --
      Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @10:23PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @10:23PM (#1142168)

    How you ask?

    I switched it to a VOIP provider, and one of the services the VOIP provider offers is the ability to setup a voice response system. They also offer custom call routing based upon whether or not a calling number is in a "phone book" list they also support.

    So I setup a white list. Calling numbers that are in the phone book ring through as always. Any calling number not in the white list goes to a voice responder that asks the human to press a number to connect through.

    Human callers understand the instructions, press the number, and get to ring through.

    Robocallers, by being robots, don't listen/understand the instructions, don't press the number, and so, never ring through.

    So while the calls continue to be placed by the scam artists, they all get stopped at the VOIP providers voice response system, so my phone does not ring when the robots try to call it.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @10:27PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @10:27PM (#1142170)

    better made with India.

    I have never received a robocaller with an aussie accent.

    The robocallers, if one bothers to connect through to the human to waste their time, *always* turn out to connect through to someone from India with a thick indian accent and poor english skills.

    So an agreement with India, given that they seem to be the source of 100% of the problem, would have been better.

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