AG Continues to Urge the FCC to Strengthen Efforts to Stop Robocalls

August 26, 2019

Attorney General Jim Hood today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to encourage telecom companies to implement call blocking and call authentication solutions that would protect consumers from illegal robocalls and spoofing. Today’s comment letter to the FCC comes after Attorney General Hood and a bipartisan public-private coalition of 51 attorneys general and 12 phone companies  unveiled the Anti-Robocall Principles to fight illegal robocalls last week.

“Mississippians are fed up with the amount of illegal robocalls they receive each day,” General Hood said. “That is why my fellow attorneys general and I continue our work with phone companies and industry leaders and are urging the FCC to take action to help customers cease these unwanted calls.”

The Coalition supports the FCC’s Declaratory Ruling, confirming that voice service providers can make call blocking a default setting for unwanted robocalls, based on their analysis, rather than requiring consumer opt-in. The attorneys general also support the FCC’s proposal to require voice service providers to implement the STIR/SHAKEN Caller ID authentication framework, if the providers do not implement it voluntarily.

The comments make clear that the call-block services should be based on reasonable analytics and should not block important calls, including emergency alerts or automated calls that customers have signed up for, like medical reminders. The comments further state that phone companies should monitor network traffic to identify patterns consistent with robocalls and take action to cut off the calls or notify law enforcement.

Lastly, since STIR/SHAKEN will not work on all older landlines, the comments call upon the FCC to develop caller ID authentication to prevent robocalls to all landline telephones. This is particularly urgent because of the people scammed by robocall scammers are elderly consumers or live in rural areas and primarily use landline technology.

Many of these actions are also covered in the Anti-Robocall Principles, a set of eight principles focused on addressing illegal robocalls through prevention and enforcement. Twelve phone companies, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, have already signed on to the principles. Earlier this summer, General Hood and other attorneys general urged the Commission to adopt proposed rules to implement enforcement against caller ID spoofing on calls to the United States, which originate overseas, and to address spoofing in text messaging and alternative voice services.

Attorney General Hood is joined in signing these comments by attorneys general from all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

A copy of the comments is available here

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