FCC proposes blocking robocalls by default

Robocalls Phone carriers could soon protect you from scammers under new FCC proposal

Carriers would also have flexibility in how they dispose of spam calls, such as sending the calls straight to voicemail, alerting the customer of the robocalls, or blocking the calls altogether.

The FCC's proposal also would allow providers to offer customers an even more aggressive form of blocking than the default option.

The head of the Federal Communications Commission is seeking to give telecommunications firms the ability to automatically block potential robocalls without consumer consent.

This leads us to a new proposal from FCC chairman Ajit Pai that paves the way for a potentially big step up in the fight against these calls that leave consumers so outraged. The industry is working on deploying this long-in-the-works system, called "STIR/SHAKEN", but it's been a slow process.

YouMail, a company that blocks robocalls and tracks them, estimated there were 4.9 billion unwanted us calls last month after almost 48 billion in 2018, which was up almost 60 percent over 2017.

Pai and the other four FCC commissioners testified on Wednesday before a U.S. House panel amid frustration in Congress and among U.S. consumers over the flood of robocalls. Customers would be able to draw up a "white list" of contacts, so operators only allow through calls from these known numbers.

The proposal would establish call blocking services as a default setting for consumers.

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The full commission will consider the measure on June 6. "We need real solutions to address this problem, and real protections for the American people". The FCC is pushing for phone companies to use an authentication framework for blocking unwanted calls that is dubbed "SHAKEN/STIR".

In November, Pai wrote to the chief executive officers of major providers demanding they launch the system no later than 2019 to combat robocalls.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel weighed in on the proposal on Wednesday morning. And speaking of the FCC, it received nearly 6 million complaints about unwanted calls last year, according to a report the agency issued earlier this year.

The number of unwanted robocalls skyrocketed 46% from 2017 to 2018.

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

The FCC's efforts come in response to a growing chorus of critics who feel the US government hasn't acted swiftly or aggressively enough to punish scammers who place unwanted calls or texts to consumers, and has been lax in efforts to prod telecom carriers to improve their anti-robocall technology.

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