Agreement Reached Between States & Major Telcomm Companies on Fighting Robocalls

Daily Record article (2019-08-22) reported that a coalition of all 50 states and Washington D.C. have reach an agreement with 12 phone companies on fighting illegal robocalls. The article noted that robocalls are a frequent source of consumer complaints, both within Maryland and nationally. The agreement was the result of a bipartisan effort. Telecommunication companies that signed onto the agreement included AT&T, Comcast, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

A robocall is a call made with an autodialer and a prerecorded or artificial voice. Illegal robocalls will often try to hide the originating phone number and appear as another legitimate phone number. Illegal robocalls typically seek to commit some form of fraud or theft on unwitting consumers.

From the article:

The companies have committed to implementing call-blocking technology at no cost to customers, making free tools available, implementing authentication technology and monitoring network traffic. They will also help identify and investigate customers who are making robocalls, take action against suspicious callers, work with law enforcement to trace origins of illegal calls and require contractors to cooperate in tracing calls.

“The principles announced today will help prevent these calls and provide law enforcement with the information needed to track down and prosecute those making illegal robocalls,” [Maryland Attorney General Brian] Frosh said.

The principles constitute “a comprehensive set of best practices,” according to Henning Schulzrinne, a professor at Columbia University quoted in the release. The agreement recognizes “no single action or technology is sufficient to curb the scourge of illegal and unwanted robocalls,” Shuulzrinne said.

The article noted that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received 232,000 consumer  complaints about robocalls in 2018.