As they continue their search for a successful solution to the fight against robocalls, the Federal Communications Commission approved new rules Thursday morning that would help set standards against the barrage of robocalls affecting consumers each day.
Presenting their ideas to the commission, the Wireline Chairman Competition Bureau led with an early stage solution that would establish a call authentication system. This system would enable telephone providers and customers to accurately verify the origin of robocalls.
The system would be based on a trust anchor model between telephone service providers and qualified authorities to provide call blocking and filtering tools for accurate caller ID information. However, before the system can be established, three main items need to be considered: how the system would be governed; who or what entities should set the rules and procedures for the system; and what criteria should the entities set for who may be qualified to service and authenticate the telephone service provider.
In response, Commissioner Michael O’Rielly emphasized the importance of blocking not ALL robocalls but just the ILLEGAL ones. “Overall, I appreciate the challenge of trying to police illegal robocalls. Do note that I said illegal robocalls, as I said that not every robocall is problematic,” he said. “Many are important to consumers and provider information that they expect to receive from companies. The goal should be not to prevent or squash legitimate robocalls.”
Secondly, the bureau addressed the “long-standing robocall problem” of reassigned numbers. A reassigned number is when a consumer cancels their account and the number is sent back to the carrier and then reassigned to a new customer. Unfortunately, there is no current way to track when numbers are reassigned and how they should be used. The bureau proposed to create a comprehensive resource that would be used by both businesses and legitimate robocallers, to identify telephone numbers that have been reassigned as well as consumers who have or have not consented to receive these types of calls.
Despite both inquiries being in the early planning stages, Chairman Ajit Pai found the bureau’s efforts to be a good step towards a successful solution to the number one complaint received by the FCC. Chairman Pai and Commissioners Clyburn and O’Rielly showed their appreciation for the pitches by adopting both items with editorial privileges.
“As evidenced by recent actions taken by the FCC, including last month’s notice of apparent liability against an individual alleged to have spoofed nearly 100 million calls, no one action will rid this nation of illegal robocalls for good,” said Commissioner Clyburn. “But, support for both of these notices confirms our commitment and willingness to work together and find new and innovative ways to make sure this commission stays one step ahead.”