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Robocallers "Evolved" to Sidestep New Call Blocking Rules, 35 State AGs Tell FCC

Accepted submission by martyb at 2018-10-11 01:47:04 from the No, I do NOT want to hear you now! dept.

Robocallers “evolved” to sidestep new call blocking rules, AGs tell FCC []:

The Federal Communications Commission should let phone companies get more aggressive in blocking robocalls, 35 state attorneys general told the commission yesterday.

The FCC last year authorized [] voice service providers to block more types of calls in which the Caller ID has been spoofed or in which the number on the Caller ID is invalid. But the FCC did not go far enough, and robocallers have "evolved" to evade the new rules, the 35 attorneys general wrote in an FCC filing []:

One specific method which has evolved recently is a form of illegal spoofing called "neighbor spoofing []." A neighbor-spoofed call will commonly appear on a consumer's caller ID with the same area code and local exchange as the consumer to increase the likelihood he/she will answer the call. In addition, consumers have recently reported receiving calls [] where their own phone numbers appeared on their caller ID. A consumer who answered one such call reported the caller attempted to trick her by saying he was with the phone company and required personal information to verify the account, claiming it had been hacked.

The attorneys general said they "encourage the FCC to adopt rules authorizing providers to block these and other kinds of illegally spoofed calls."

The industry can also make progress simply by using existing frameworks to authenticate legitimate calls and identify illegally spoofed calls, the attorneys general wrote. The FCC should encourage all service providers "to aggressively implement" the STIR (Secure Telephone Identity Revisited) and SHAKEN (Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) protocols [], they wrote.


The letter was signed by state attorneys general from Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

[...] The FCC also heard from CTIA, the mobile industry trade group that represents AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. The group urged the FCC [] to make sure that "carriers... combatting illegal robocalls in good faith must have protection from associated legal and regulatory liability."

A safe harbor as proposed by the CTIA would limit carriers' liability when they mistakenly block calls that shouldn't be blocked. This would encourage carriers to adopt the STIR and SHAKEN protocols, CTIA said.

[...] Last month, the FCC issued [] about $120 million dollars' worth of fines to two robocallers accused of spoofing real people's phone numbers.

Original Submission