Strengthening efforts to stop robocalls


Staff Report



Morrisey

Morrisey


CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and a broad coalition urged the Federal Communications Commission to stand firm and encourage telecom companies to implement call blocking and call authentication solutions that would protect consumers from illegal robocalls and spoofing.

Fifty-one attorneys general supported the FCC’s efforts to give consumers greater access to free, robust call blocking that is simple and easy for all consumers. The bipartisan coalition expressed its support in a comment letter filed late afternoon Friday.

“Illegal robocalls are an increasing annoyance for consumers across West Virginia,” Morrisey said. “Our office has initiated meetings with several telecom companies and continues to explore avenues that will significantly reduce, and hopefully eradicate, this aggravation and threat to consumers.”

News of the coalition’s letter comes days after its members and 12 phone companies unveiled an agreement that will result in the phone companies adopting eight principles to fight illegal robocalls.

The coalition strengthened that effort in telling FCC that telecom companies should offer automatic call-blocking services to all customers at no cost. Any such service should be based on reasonable analytics and should not block important calls, including emergency alerts or automated calls that customers choose to sign up for, such as medical reminders.

The coalition’s letter also states telecom providers should monitor network traffic to identify patterns consistent with robocalls and take action to cut off the calls or notify law enforcement.

The attorneys general also express support for implementing the STIR/SHAKEN caller ID call authentication technology and supports FCC’s proposal to take regulatory action against telecom companies that do not comply with its implementation. STIR/SHAKEN is designed to help ensure that calls originate from secure, verified numbers as opposed to spoofed sources.

The letter specifically states that telecom providers should develop caller ID authentication to prevent robocalls to landline telephones, a particularly urgent concern given the vulnerability of some elderly consumers who primarily rely upon landline technology.

West Virginia signed onto the letter with attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Read the letter at http://bit.ly/2ZsO6W6.

Information submitted by the office of Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

Morrisey
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Staff Report