FCC works to fight robocalls from abroad

Texas News Today

WASHINGTON – The Federal Communications Commission has proposed new rules for telephone companies that send calls from overseas to the US telephone network. It’s part of a long-running effort to stop billions of illegal and annoying robocalls from flooding Americans.

The anti-robocall resolution, adopted by a 4-0 vote on Thursday, is targeted at “gateway” voice service providers. Officials say such companies are often responsible for promoting a significant portion of robocalls originating from outside the United States.

The FCC’s vote opens a public comment period on the proposal, which requires a formal vote for adoption.

Providers need to know more about foreign customers, for example, by ensuring that customers are allowed to make calls using North American phone numbers. Also, if the FCC flags it as illegal, the provider must block the call.

In a statement prepared for Thursday’s meeting, FCC Vice President Jessica Rosenwessel said, “These scammers cannot be promoted overseas and hidden from the regulatory realm.” “We are going to stop these nuisance calls before they reach our homes and businesses in the United States. And if the tools we have here don’t work, go to Congress and do more. I want to ask something. “

There are about 400 providers registered in the FCC’s robocall-mitigation database.

Andrew Kelly / Reuters

In creating the new proposal, the FCC also requires foreign-based telecommunications companies to register with the FCC and intensify efforts to remove the risk of being blocked from sending illegal robocalls or calls to the United States. out of regulation.

The so-called ban on foreign providers came into force earlier this week. The FCC is currently saying it will not enforce the ban, considering the newly proposed rules for US-based gateway providers.

Major wireless carriers and others have hit back after requesting government agencies to postpone restrictions on foreign providers. He said foreign providers were not prepared for the rules. This can block legitimate calls.

About 400 providers have registered with the FCC’s robocall-mitigation database, and FCC officials said this week that more providers believe they haven’t registered yet.

FCC employees said in a memo to the commissioner ahead of the vote Thursday that they sympathize with another concern raised by a major US carrier. .. If the company calls through an intermediary instead, it may circumvent the rules.

Teresa Murray, a consumer watchdog with the US Public Interest Research Group, said she was concerned that delaying requirements from foreign providers would “only increase the cycle of robocall crimes attracted to the weak link in the chain.” Rice field.

“How would this hole be closed if a foreign provider had not participated in this effort to fight robocalls?” he said.

write to Ryan Tracy ([email protected])

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