FCC votes to allow telecoms to block spoofed robocalls

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) recently unanimously passed a resolution that allows carriers to block caller ID-spoofed numbers. Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement that “these calls are very likely to be illegal or fraudulent; there’s not legitimate reason for anyone to spoof caller ID to make it seem as if he or she is calling from an unassigned or invalid phone number.”

Despite the unanimous vote, the resolution wasn’t without some disapproval. Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel noted that it doesn’t go far enough and doesn’t fully protect consumers. The fear is that big telecom will charge customers for a service that costs them very little. Rosenworcel notes that “while the agency offers carriers the ability to limit calls from what are likely to be fraudulent actors, it fails to prevent them from charging consumers for this service. So this is the kicker: the FCC takes action to ostensibly reduce robocalls but then makes sure you can pay for the privilege. If you ask me, that’s ridiculous.”

Work undoubtedly continues at the FCC around STIR and SHAKEN and hopefully the FCC will make more progress on the nagging issue of illegal robocalls in 2018.