Crackdown on robocalls could be coming

Posted at 2 p.m. on August 23, 2019

The Brillion News

MADISON – Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced that as a result of a coalition of 51 attorneys general and 12 phone companies, the phone companies have agreed to adopt eight principles to fight illegal robocalls. This agreement will help protect phone users from illegal robocalls and make it easier for attorneys general to investigate and prosecute bad actors.

“The volume of robocalls that people receive needs to be reduced dramatically,” Kaul said. “The phone companies that are putting these principles into effect are helping with that effort. I hope other companies will join them.”

The principles address the robocall problem in two main ways: prevention and enforcement.

Phone companies will work to prevent illegal robocalls by:

  1. Implementing call-blocking technology at the network level at no cost to customers.

  2. Making available to customers additional, free, easy-to-use call blocking and labeling tools.

  3. Implementing technology to authenticate that callers are coming from a valid source.

  4. Monitoring their networks for robocall traffic.

Phone companies will assist attorneys’ general anti-robocall enforcement by:

  1. Knowing who their customers are so bad actors can be identified and investigated.

  2. Investigating and taking action against suspicious callers – including notifying law enforcement  and state attorneys general.

  3. Working with law enforcement, including state attorneys general, to trace the origins of illegal robocalls.

  4. Requiring telephone companies with which they contract to cooperate in traceback identification.

Going forward, phone companies will stay in close communication with the coalition of attorneys general to continue to optimize robocall protections as technology and scammer techniques change.

“The principles offer a comprehensive set of best practices that recognizes that no single action or technology is sufficient to curb the scourge of illegal and unwanted robocalls,” said Columbia University professor Henning Schulzrinne.

The coalition of attorneys general includes attorneys general from all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

The coalition of companies includes AT&T, Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon, and Windstream.

An on-line petition to advocate for elimination of robocalls is available through the New Jersey government website. To sign it, go to https://ncdoj.gov/Protect-Yourself/Stop-Telemarketers/Robo_Call_Petition.aspx

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