FCC Allows Wireless Companies To Block Robocalls By Default

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WASHINGTON – In a move to help curb the flood of robocalls that inundate Americans, the Federal Communications Commission voted this week to give wireless carriers like Verizon the green light to block unwanted robocalls automatically for all customers.

The vote allows carriers to switch on robocall-blocking technologies by default. The technology works by using algorithms and network scanning to identify unwanted calls, similar to how email providers scan for spam messages.

Roughly 5 billion robocalls per month hit American phone lines, according to industry research.

While some robocalls are legal and come from legitimate institutions like banks, schools or medical providers, a vast share come from scammers and foreign sources, the FCC reported.

“There is one thing in our country today that unites Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, socialists and libertarians, vegetarians and carnivores, Ohio State and Michigan fans: It is that they are sick and tired of being bombarded by unwanted robocalls,” said agency chairman Ajit Pai. “My message to the American people today is simple. We hear you, and we are on your side.”

But However, questions remain about whether consumers may have to pay for such services.

FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said he will have “serious concerns” if carriers begin to charge their customers for robocall blocking. Jessica Rosenworcel, another agency commissioner, said she partly objected to Thursday’s decision because it does not require robocall blocking to be provided for free.

“There is nothing here that prevents companies from charging each of us whatever additional fees they want to put this call blocking technology on our line,” Rosenworcel said.

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