FCC considers allowing phone companies to automatically block unwanted robocalls

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FCC considers allowing phone companies to automatically block unwanted robocalls

Major carriers and third-party app developers already offer free or paid call blocking applications, but they require customers to opt into the service.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai proposed a new rule that, if adopted, would encourage phone carriers to turn anti-robocall technology on by default.

The FCC claims wireless carriers have not pursued tools that allow calls to be blocked by default because of legal uncertainty about such tools under the FCC's rules. A bipartisan bill in the Senate, the TRACED Act, would force carriers to adopt a system in 18 months that verifies that the number that pops up on your caller ID is real.

"It is very important that the proposal makes it clear that emergency and other vital calls are not blocked and that carriers give consumers ample information about these services and methods", Pai told reporters.

YouMail, a company that blocks robocalls and tracks them, estimated there were 4.9 billion unwanted usa calls last month after almost 48 billion in 2018, which was up almost 60 percent over 2017. The new rules would also allow carriers to help consumers to block calls not on their own contact list.

New measures by USA regulators could help thwart some of the billions of robocalls received in the U.S.

The FCC will consider the proposal at a meeting on June 6.

Pai and the other four FCC commissioners are set to testify later on Wednesday before a U.S. House panel amid frustration in Congress and among U.S. consumers over the flood of robocalls. The FCC is pushing for phone companies to use an authentication framework for blocking unwanted calls that is dubbed "SHAKEN/STIR". Verizon's anti-robocall tool is free, but Sprint's Premium Caller ID tool is not. We're working hard to implement innovative ways, like the STIR/SHAKEN standard, to stop these bad actors, and we're glad the FCC is also focused on taking aggressive action and exploring new tools to protect consumers.

That marks a 46 percent increase from 2017, when users logged about 18 billion robocalls.

There's little time for the phone companies to get up to speed on the proposal.

In its analysis, Hiya found that people received an average of about 10 spam calls per month.

Robocalls have become so common that a 2018 report predicted nearly 50 percent of all mobile calls will be scam calls this year. A big problem with robocalls is that many are "spoofed", or faked to look like they're coming from a number that matches your area code and the next three digits of your number, so you think it's a neighbor and are more likely to pick up.

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