Published: Fri, June 07, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

FCC says carriers can block robocalls by default

FCC says carriers can block robocalls by default

In an op-ed published prior to the vote, Chairman Ajit Pai said stopping unwanted calls is a top priority for the FCC and brushed aside calls from critics to delay the vote.

The commission's vote made it clear that carriers can proactively take action to now block by default these kinds of calls, the number of which approached 5 billion in May according to robocall blocking company YouMail.

Pai explained in his op-ed that he expects phone companies will quickly come on board since blocking the calls now flooding their networks will save them time and money.

Don't worry, though. If you are a big fan of 2 a.m. calls originating from a country you can't even pronounce wanting to sell you a sketchy-sounding extension on your auto warranty, you can opt out of the blocking.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also voted to allow carriers to let companies block any calls not on a consumer's contact list if the customer opts in. "Full stop", Rosenworcel said in a separately issued statement.

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously to allow phone carriers to automatically block robocalls.

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Under the provision, providers will be allowed to "aggressively" block robocalls before the calls reach the subscriber's phone.

"I think robocall solutions should be free to consumers".

"I am disappointed that for all our efforts to support new blocking technology, we couldn't muster up the courage to do what consumers want most-stop robocalls and do it for free", she said. The commission has also proposed that carriers have the SHAKEN/STIR caller ID authentication framework implemented by the end of the year.

The crackdown would free up network capacity and cut the number of consumers being scammed by criminals, he said. One of its tools, a free app known as Call Protect, requires users to download and enable it.

O'Rielly said his partial dissent was spurred by the order instructing FCC staff to "collect "any and all relevant information" from voice service providers" so that the FCC can prepare reports on the state of call blocking.

Though most consumers will likely cheer the move, trade groups representing debt collectors are none too pleased, nor are pharmacies and other companies whose legitimate, automated calls could inadvertently be swept up in the preemptive blocking, as CNET's Marguerite Reardon explained. "With the help of these new FCC rules, we'll be able to provide our customers the benefits of spam alerts and blocking more broadly and conveniently".

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