In the News

Washington’s New Anti-Robocall Law Won’t Stop the Calls. Here’s Why.

Dec 26, 2019 Wall Street Journal

Some robocalls are legitimate, and additional prosecutions don’t prevent more bad actors from popping up

In a rare bipartisan achievement, Congress has moved to combat the scourge of robocalls inundating Americans.

Just don’t expect the phone to stop ringing any time soon.

The robocall law, which passed both the House and Senate by wide margins, prods phone companies to cut off illegal marketers or scammers before the phone rings by spotting suspect traffic.

The legislation also boosts penalties for breakers of telephone consumer-protection laws and mandates that government agencies and companies work more closely together in stemming robocalls. The bill must still be signed by President Trump, which is expected given the near-unanimous support by both parties.

Lawmakers, industry and consumer groups say the bill represents significant steps forward, but they also concede that the calls are likely to continue—a reflection of how a lasting solution continues to elude the companies and regulators that control the telephone system.

“This isn’t going to eliminate every robocall,” said Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.), one of the bill’s prime sponsors, in an interview. “But we think it will go a long way toward getting at some of these not only annoying nuisance calls, but more importantly a lot of scam artists that prey on vulnerable populations.”