FCC ban targets international robocalls and text spoofing

Eric Abent - Aug 2, 2019, 2:56 pm CDT
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FCC ban targets international robocalls and text spoofing

It isn’t controversial to say that everyone hates receiving robocalls and spam text messages. Unfortunately for all of us in that particularly large boat, the robocalls and spam persist, and are even getting worse. The FCC today announced new rules that will give it more power when it comes to tracking down international scammers who employ such tactics, and while it’s unlikely these rules will bring a stop to robocalling scams entirely, the hope is that they help curb the problem at least a little bit.

Early last month, FCC chairman Ajit Pai proposed these new rules, with the agency ultimately adopting them and banning “malicious caller ID spoofing of text messages and foreign calls.” In a video explaining the adoption of these new rules, Pai said that the FCC has received “tens of thousands” of complaints of caller ID spoofing in the first six months of 2019.

“The new rules will allow the agency to bring enforcement actions against bad actors who spoof text messages and those who seek out victims in this country from overseas,” the FCC said in a separate statement on its website. The statements from the FCC and its commissioners don’t really go into how the agency will hold scammers in foreign nations accountable for robocalls, but it seems like solutions will differ on a case-by-case basis as they’ll require the cooperation of foreign governments.

The FCC isn’t the only government agency that has set its sights on robocalls lately, as the Federal Trade Commission recently vowed to crack down on robocallers as well. Back in June, the FCC voted to allow carriers to block robocalls by default, and a little more than a month later, AT&T rolled out such a feature to its subscribers.

So, the problem of robocalls is one that’s being tackled from multiple angles, but even that might be enough. Robocalls have only gotten more frequent as time goes on, and though the FCC’s new rules are a step in the right direction, it’s going to take a concerted effort from carriers both minor and major and multiple government agencies to make them go away for good – if that’s something that’s even possible.


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