U.S. senators ask for more info on robocall tracebacks

Senators Edward Markey and John Thune sent a letter to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel asking for more details on robocall traceback activity. Let’s take a look at their request and what started it all.

USTelecom report to the FCC Enforcement Bureau

This all started with a report that USTelecom made on November 15, 2021, in response to a request from the Enforcement Bureau for annual reports.

USTelecom reported on the status of traceback efforts in a report to the FCC Enforcement Bureau on November 15, 2021. It’s a short report, just 3 pages, and worth a look.

There’s a chart in the report that grabbed the Senators’ attention:

Providers response to traceback requests

Figure 1. A Handful of Non-Cooperating Providers Show Up in Tracebacks
(USTelecom report to the Enforcement Bureau)

Here’s what the ITG said about this chart:

Tracebacks have identified 121 U.S. providers originating illegal robocalls, 111 that have brought the calls into the country, and 115 foreign providers originating the illegal traffic. Although some domestic and foreign providers still do not cooperate, as the chart [above] demonstrates, a handful of non-cooperating providers disproportionately show up in tracebacks.


More details, please

Senators Markey and Thune, the authors of the TRACED Act, jumped all over that. This information spurred a request for more details.

Sen. Ed Markey

Sen. Ed Markey

Sen. John Thune

Sen. John Thune

Here are their questions:

  1. Among all the tracebacks requested in 2021, how many independent calling campaigns were identified?
  2. How many carriers were included in more than 10 tracebacks as an originating provider?
  3. How many carriers were included in more than 20 tracebacks as an originating provider?
    1. Please graph the data in the same manner the ITG graphed data regarding the providers that did not respond to traceback requests in ITG’s response to the FCC’s Request for Information on the Status of Private-Led Traceback Efforts of Suspected Unlawful Robocalls.

The Senators asked for another chart like figure 1, above. This time, however, they want to see the counts of all providers, not just the non-cooperative ones, involved in 10+ and 20+ tracebacks.

It’s an interesting request. It demonstrates that they’re closely following the progress of the ongoing battle against unlawful robocalls.

It will be interesting to see the response.

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