Heeding state AGs, FCC takes on robocalls

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The Federal Communications Commission announced new measures to combat unwanted robocalls and to prevent spam text messaging.

“Combatting robocalls is our top consumer protection priority, and these proposals are a significant step forward in that effort,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a release.

The new plan was prompted by a request from 20 state attorneys general, including South Dakota’s Marty Jackley, for the FCC to continue allowing wireless carriers to block unwanted calls and texts. Twilio Inc. had petitioned the FCC to force wireless companies to stop blocking robocalls.

The FCC plan would, if approved, authorize wireless providers to stop unwanted text messaging through blocking and anti-spoofing measures; as well as anti-spam features.

Robocalls and robotexts are limited by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Besides filing a complaint with the FCC, consumers can take several steps to avoid being caught off guard by a robocall. For information on how to stop unwanted robocalls and texts, visit https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/stop-unwanted-robocalls-and-texts.

In addition, manipulation of caller ID information – or spoofing – is limited by the Truth in Caller ID Act: https://www.fcc.gov/spoofing.

Another aspect of the plan includes a database that helps people know if the number they are calling was reassigned. When people get a new phone number, the old number is reassigned, resulting in people being called in error.