back to article FCC promises, yet again, to tackle robocalls. Translation: Expect six more months of waiting

Faced with growing political and legal anger, Ajit Pai, the chairman of America's communications watchdog, has again promised to do something about robocalls – and again left critics fuming over his foot-dragging antics. Pai's FCC made two announcements on Monday – that as the boss of the federal regulator, he "expects major …

  1. Jay Lenovo Silver badge

    Yeah, he''ll get right to it (yawn)...tomorrow.

    It's not like the agency has been aware of this issue for the last 30+ years.

    1. BillG Silver badge
      WTF?

      SHAKEN/STIR Caller ID Authentication

      I took a quick look at the FCC website on this:

      https://www.fcc.gov/call-authentication

      From the references it looks like all the major carriers say they are implementing SHAKEN/STIR caller ID authentication this year, with some ready to go today. So I don't see what the problem is. I do know that carriers are against block lists because a potential for abuse exists that can result in good phone numbers being blocked.

      SHAKEN/STIR sends the caller ID using TLS. This isn't rocket surgery.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: SHAKEN/STIR Caller ID Authentication

        Carriers are against any solution that reduces their revenue.

        Their revenue is directly proportional to the number of calls they connect. See the problem there?

        This is why access to the henhouse should be controlled by hens, not weasels.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: SHAKEN/STIR Caller ID Authentication

          Their revenue is directly proportional to the number of calls they connect.

          The catch is most phone companies give consumers a flat rate on phone charges. I guess I'm confused on how the carriers will lose money.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: SHAKEN/STIR Caller ID Authentication

            My guess is they allow automated services on their lines, so some kind of kickback is in order. A bit of google-fu shows annoying people automaticaly seems quite cheap in the USA:

            http://dialthemup.com/automated-call-pricing/

          2. veti Silver badge

            Re: SHAKEN/STIR Caller ID Authentication

            It's not chiefly about what they charge consumers, but what they charge each other.

            Every time you call somebody on a different network, or make a long-distance call, that call gets routed through 2, 3 or more networks. Those networks have detailed records of all the calls they route on each others' behalf, and every month they'll send each other huge invoices for those services.

            That's one way the networks can afford to offer flat rates to consumers: the calls the consumer actually makes are not the biggest part of revenue they get, the calls made to them are just as important. Possibly more so, if the market is suitably competitive - because the rates between companies are set by long-term, wide-scale agreements, so less elastic.

            To put it another way: a lot of people say, in the context of Facebook, that "if you're not paying for the product, you are the product". Now, you've just told me you're not paying for the calls you make, only for the connection to make them on. What does that tell you about the market for phone calls?

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: SHAKEN/STIR Caller ID Authentication

        "SHAKEN/STIR sends the caller ID using TLS. This isn't rocket surgery."

        Did you hear the term 'Rocket Surgery' from a radio host named 'LaDonna' ? I'm pretty sure she originated it...

        yeah the article already pointed out that phone companies make money by connecting calls, and lose money when they don't. The general idea here is to STOP THE SPOOFING, rather than blocking things. once THAT happens, the blockage and complaints can be managed by ordinary citizens, more or less, who will accurately identify these BOTTOM FEEDING HYPER-TURDS that robo-call people [scams or otherwise, both are equally irritating] regardless of whatever excuse they rectally extrapolate.

        At some point a STICK will be required, rather than a series of "Carrots" in the form of summits where everyone sits around "harumphing" about it. I think that time, for a BIG STICK, is NOW.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He must be suffocating under all those brown envelopes

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Far be it from me to tell US Congress how to manage things but possibly they could try insisting that they have to approve (or not) his salary payment every month. The way in which Parliament started to gain power over monarchs was to get themselves into the position of being able to control the money (Provisions of Oxford, 1258).

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Doctor Syntax, you may have misunderstood who runs the US, and why.

      Congress are involved somewhere in the process, but only to rubber stamp the decisions made by the people who hold the purse strings.

  4. dbtx Bronze badge

    donotcall.gov is a joke

    Report Unwanted Calls requires the receiving phone number, MM/DD/YYYY, and HH:MM. It is significantly more time-consuming than taking a call, realizing it was unwanted, and hanging up. It would be nice if there was a trivial thing someone could do just before hanging up (e.g. dial *3623) and then some other "friendly" robot would wake up, take notes, and send off the details. Is this already a thing (or almost a thing) and I just haven't heard of it?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: donotcall.gov is a joke

      There's Call Trace, which is usually a short code. Problem is, it costs per use.

  5. chivo243 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Short answer

    Someone is the gubbermint is making cash from this... simple really.

    My folks by pass this issue with caller ID that shows on the TV screen (some comcast feature?) as well as the handset. If they don't know the number, they don't answer, and on the off chance it is real, they have voice mail, and can pick up or call back.

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

      Re: Short answer

      Since going to iPhone and using WhatsApp for international calls (wife's sister), we don't use our Vonage "land line" much anymore, except to receive scam calls and other useless annoyances.* When I maxed out the 50-number block list, I just set the line to "do not disturb". The Vonage Extensions app still tells me who called, and we get the voice transcription email/texts for anyone willing to leave a message. And I also downgraded the line to a smaller fixed monthly price plus pay-per-minute on outgoing calls only. (Deal NOT online; I only got it when I called to cancel it entirely. They also gave me a month free when I hesitated at keeping it.)

      * Red Cross is not a scam, but I will NOT be donating more blood anytime soon, because every time I do I start getting dizzy/nauseated and the nurses tell me "Maybe donating blood isn't for you." But I'm O-positive, so regional HQ won't stop bugging me about it.

      (Another not-scam type of call: college alumni association asking for donations. I'm NOT telling them we just moved, or where.)

  6. Garymrrsn
    Coat

    Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act

    This is all well and good. However, one must remember that all acts of congress must comply with the unwritten but most vigorously enforced part of the US Constitution, The Corporate Power Amendment, which states; "Congress shall make no law which impedes the upward flow of wealth"

  7. Keven E

    Limited block lists?

    "...carriers are against block lists because a potential for abuse exists that can result in good phone numbers being blocked."

    Isn't this abuse only a possibility if we all share a list? I see some carriers limit the amount of blocked numbers per line so they don't have to *actually manage one/them, but I thought that block lists were resident on the phone itself... if they aren't I'd imagine they should be... and transferable between phones.

    Just pass a law allowing each line's block list to be unlimited.... imagine the size and and thruput of that/those database(s)!

    1. Josh 14

      Re: Limited block lists?

      The problem with block lists is that many of the calls are from nonsense numbers.

      If you try calling back the number that your phone resolves it as, a good portion are unassigned, and the remaining numbers have low chance to be anyone that had something to do with the calls, most often just another poor schmuck who's number was used.

      One of my co-workers had a scam call from his OWN number...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Limited block lists?

        ...most often just another poor schmuck who's number was used

        I've noticed that as of late. Get an AWFUL lot of scam calls from our (small) town's phone exchange, and I seriously doubt there's a "call centre" hidden somewhere in town (unless it's operating out of the top floor of the Dutcher House), unlikely someone's managed to even set up a call forwarding office here.

        Presumably the system is just pasting on some random 4-digits in place of the last 4 of your own number.

        1. Keven E

          Re: Limited block lists?

          Presumably the system is just pasting on some random 4-digits in place of the last 4 of your own number.

          Exactly my experience. That leaves 9990 or so left.... a slight, but real remote possibility I'll care about missing a call from one.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Limited block lists?

        right, the callir ID spoofing problem must be fixed FIRST. This should actually fix 99% of it. Once you know for sure who these ASSHATS are, and can complain about them ACCURATELY, it'll be possible to go after them. But as long as they're hiding by caller ID spoofing, and they do NOT identify themselves, you can't do a damn thing... except maybe VOODOO!

  8. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    Pai-ed off...

    I guess his masters at Crapcast haven't given him his orders on what to do yet.

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