Inside your phone company’s plan to stop robocalls

September 2, 2019

Spam and robocalls are such a nuisance and a widespread problem — Americans endured over 26 billion of them in 2018 — that the FCC has stepped in, fining four companies responsible for billions of robocalls. Stopping robocalls on your own is one thing, but the FCC has also tasked the communications industry with curbing the number of robocalls we all receive on a daily basis. Recently, 12 phone companies and 51 state attorneys general announced a plan to implement technology to identify, and eventually block robocalls. This is where STIR/SHAKEN (also called SHAKEN/STIR) comes in. 

SHAKEN/STIR is a two-pronged protocol that AT&T and T-Mobile will use to verify that the incoming caller is legit. It will also work with home phones running on Comcast’s service. The end result is that Comcast, T-Mobile and AT&T will authenticate caller ID among one another, so you have more assurance that the person who’s calling you is real. 

November 29, 2018

Lawmakers are continuing their push to end robocalls.

On Wednesday, Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota introduced the REAL PEACE Act, which would expand the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to crack down on telecom companies that facilitate illegal robocalls. (In case you’re wondering, the witty acronym stands for “Robocall Elimination At Last Protecting Every American Consumer’s Ears.”)…

June 5, 2017

Dish Network has been ordered to pay $280 million in penalties as part of an 8-year-old “robocall” telemarketing lawsuit.

US District Judge Sue Myerscough for the Central Illinois District ordered the satellite television provider to pay $168 million to the US government and $112 million to four states for violating laws regarding the national Do Not Call registry. The number of calls amounted to “millions and millions,” Myerscough wrote in her 475-page ruling

March 2, 2017

The man who would ” dismantle net neutrality with a smile” has another target in his cross hair for March.

On Thursday, newly minted Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai released the agency’s agenda for the month, with six items it will discuss and vote on March 23. At the top of the list is killing robocalls — those automated phone calls that annoy the entire nation.

Pai has been working fast to kill regulation and policies like net neutrality — the concept that all internet traffic must be treated as equal — that the previous administration enforced. So far, in a little more than a month, he’s stopped rules to protect data privacyblocked internet privacy regulations and chipped away at net neutrality. In March’s agenda, Pai looks to get rid of even more regulations his predecessors put in place…