Tag: strike force

When Ajit Pai was appointed the new FCC Chairman, there were a lot of questions about what changes he would make following former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s time in office. One of those questions revolved around robocalls and how to stop them. While some may have been nervous that Chairman Pai would let this fight go by the wayside, Hiya never was.

Back in September, after the recent launch of an industry-led Robocall Strike Force, Hiya hosted the FCC at our Seattle headquarters. Visitors included then-Chairman Tom Wheeler, then-Commissioner Ajit Pai, and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.

What did then-Commissioner Pai have to say about his visit?

“I had the pleasure, a few weeks ago, of meeting with an innovative company called Hiya, up in Seattle, and one of the things they showed me was that Americans have received 984 million robocalls on their cell phones, in September alone. That’s 4.5 robocalls for each mobile phone in the United States. That’s why I think it’s so important for this industry, including those participating in the Robocalls Strike Force, to do this job.” -Former Commissioner Pai, now Chairman Pai

It wasn’t just lip service. Since his appointment at the end of January, Chairman Pai has continued to highlight the robocall epidemic and his plans to put these annoying calls to an end. Earlier this month, Chairman Pai circulated a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to his fellow Commissioners proposing service providers the ability to block illegal and fraudulent robocalls.

“Under my proposal, the FCC would give providers greater leeway to block spoofed robocalls,” Pai announced. “Specifically, they could block calls that purport to be from unassigned or invalid phone numbers (there’s a database that keeps track of all phone numbers, and many of them aren’t assigned to a voice service provider or aren’t otherwise in use). There is no reason why any legitimate caller should be spoofing an unassigned or invalid phone number. It’s just a way for scammers to evade the law.”

This Thursday, March 23, exactly two months after Pai accepted the role as Chairman, the FCC is holding their March Open meeting and robocalls are at the very top of the agenda. We look forward to hearing Chairman Pai’s plans to continue the fight against unwanted calls.

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On Wednesday, October 26, the FCC held its second Robocall Strike Force meeting. Just two months ago, industry leaders came together for the first time to address the robocall epidemic. It all began when Chairman Wheeler called for a 60-day action plan to provide consumers with the tools they need to stop unwanted robocalls. This meeting’s purpose was for the Robocall Strike Force to report on the status of that plan.

AT&T’s President of Technology Development, Melissa Arnoldi, presented an overview of Chairman Wheeler’s points of focus and the recommendations to achieve those goals. These areas included “filtering and blocking technology for consumers, accelerating development and the climate of caller ID authentication to increase the accuracy in the identification of incoming calls and solutions to mitigate, such as the Do Not Originate lists.”

One deliverable that is available to consumers now is the FCC’s new website: FCC.gov/unwanted calls. This site provides consumers with information on how they can protect themselves from unwanted robocalls. It makes no mention of third party apps, but it’s a start.

Commissioners Clyburn and Pai, who have been active in speaking out against robocalls (and visited Hiya in September, along with Chairman Wheeler), had the opportunity to speak and we were thrilled with what they had to say:

“Thankfully, there are companies like Hiya, a startup I visited in Seattle, that are implementing and empowering consumers with the tools needed to block unwanted calls. Today, we are applauding those who have stepped up to the plate, with solutions.” -Commissioner Clyburn

“I had the pleasure, a few weeks ago, of meeting with an innovative company called Hiya, up in Seattle, and one of the things they showed me was that Americans have received 984 million robocalls on their cell phones, in September alone. That’s 4.5 robocalls for each mobile phone in the United States. That’s why I think it’s so important for this industry, including those participating in the Robocalls Strike Force, to do this job.” -Commissioner Pai

Chairman Wheeler closed the meeting with appreciation, but also a firm stance that there was more work left on the table. “You have delivered on some of those goals, but there is significantly more work to be done. We are not yet where we want to be. […] We will be asking you all in six months to give us an accounting of exactly what has happened to bring your hard work to reality so that consumers have something that is actually happening, not something that is being talked about.”

Mic drop.

Your move, Robocall Strike Force.

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