U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai on Wednesday proposed letting phone companies to block unwanted “robocalls” by default. The effort is a bid to reduce the flood of irritating calls users receive from telemarketers and scammers.
Reuters reports the U.S. telecommunications regulator is expected to approve Pai’s proposal at its June 6 meeting. Pai and the other four FCC commissioners testified on Wednesday before a U.S. House panel amid frustration in Congress and among U.S. consumers over the flood of robocalls.
Pai said many service providers have held off developing and deploying default call-blocking tools because of uncertainty about whether the tools are legal under the FCC rules.
Allowing the default call-blocking could significantly increase development and consumer adoption of the tools, Pai said, adding that providers should offer call blocking services for free. In addition, companies could allow users to block calls not on their contact lists, Pai said.
“By making it clear that such call blocking is allowed, the FCC will give voice service providers the legal certainty they need to block unwanted calls from the outset so that consumers never have to get them,” Pai said.
Robocalls are an irritating issue for users on such devices as the iPhone, sold by Apple. While Robocall “killer” apps are available on iOS and other platforms, which allow you to block and even inflict a bit of irritation on the scam callers, the bastards can simply call you using different numbers and methods, making them a pain to put a stop to. (Okay, I’ll tell you how I really feel.)
Robocall-tracking company YouMail estimates there were 48 billion unwanted calls in the U.S. in 2018, up 60% from 2017.