Big names have come together to form a coalition that includes 30 companies from the telecom and technology sector. Recently, Apple and Google’s parent company, Alphabet joined the crew. The aim of this coalition is to eradicate phone calls that are automated. The group led by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is called the Robocall Strike Force and the first meeting was convened today in the state capital, Washington, DC. Robocalls include both, prerecorded messages from false numbers and text messages that are generated automatically.
FCC is turning to big names in the technology sector which include AT&T, Verizon, Alphabet, and Verizon for devising a solution to eradicate the promotional and marketing schemes issued by telemarketers and big corporations. It is indeed commendable to see FCC striving hard to minimize the harassment faced by consumers. Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner of FCC said in his statement that the agency understands the frustration of end consumers and since many telemarketers are able to bypass the Do Not Call list, it is time for them to take stern action against these culprits.
The coalition formed by the FCC is supposed to report to them by October 19th with a concrete mode of action that could be developed and adopted in a minimal span of time. CEO of AT&T, Randall Stephenson is the Chairman of the coalition. While discussing the plans, he mentioned that the solutions might come in the form of verification of Caller ID which would then block numbers that are responsible for spoofing. Further, government agencies and banks would be made inaccessible by these telemarketers.
Chairman of FCC, Tom Wheeler stated that from the total complaints of 175,000 filed through the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), more than 50% were because of robocalls. FCC began addressing the robocalls issue last year when they gave a go-ahead to phone makers and telecom industries to implement software designed to block robocalls. However, many companies dragged their feet claiming that they needed FCC approval for such technologies. Therefore, in July, the FCC came together to form a coalition keeping both technological companies and telecommunication carriers on-board. As many companies part of the coalition have also been sued under TCPA, for sending automated text messages to prompt their users, participating in such a coalition might benefit them by easing their restrictions.