Upcoming Robocall Legislation is a Cosmic Joke

The House has passed new robocall legislation which is likely to pass the Senate and actually create a law that addresses an actual modern concern, the massive waste of time and fraud that automated calls cause.

The number of robocallers dialing up U.S. consumers is on the rise. Some estimates say there were more than 48 billion robocalls in 2018, up almost 50 percent from the previous year.
The measure would give the FCC more time to investigate and punish illegal robocallers, require the agency to pare down the list of companies that are allowed to use robocalling services and raise the penalty for illegal robocallers to $10,000 per violation from $1,500.

It won’t work of course. First, because many of these abusers are not located in America. Go try and fine an Indian or Chinese or Thai call center. Might want to learn some Hindi curses first.

But even the provisions that mandate that telcos implement new blocking technology won’t work because there are no real fines that they face, and telcos actually make money on these calls (due to caller ID lookup services and the like).

And if you think telcos have some crazy amazing tech that they can implement to detect and block call centers and robocalls, what exactly is it? And why haven’t they deployed it yet?

There are ways to do this with machine learning and analyzing call content, but if you think Verizon is going to pull that off then I have a bundled internet/tv/phone package to sell you.

The truth is, laws like this are bad technology that give a false sense of security that the government is actually doing something about this massive issue. This is about the lack of accountability in telcos, and letting them control something as important as who can contact your personal line, which is in effect your public identity. At best these companies are incompetent, at worst they are knowingly engaging in fraud by allowing it to happen. But “magic technology” will now fix this once the “magic technology” of laws mandate it, right? (/s)

This isn’t a question of who guards the guards. It’s a question of: can a compromised Government force a toothless Federal Agency to enforce hazy mandates against unethical telcos to prevent bad foreign actors from undermining the security of our phone system? From stealing the only thing we really have, our time on the planet.

Frankly, the foreign call centers are the only ones I have sympathy for in this web of lies and deception. Actually, screw that, they are horrible also.

If you want to secure your device but still keep your number open I think the only sane solution is doing the kind of call screening the Pixel is doing. I don’t have a Pixel but plan on making it my next device. Sometimes the only way to beat a company is to have another company make it into a business opportunity. See: antivirus, spam filtering, identity protection, etc.

I have no doubt the FCC will eventually solve this problem, right before the heat death of the Universe. That will be followed by the FTC deciding they need to protect Americans against fraud.

Images above of dystopian madness of a Chinese click farm (good article btw worth clicking), which are also sources of robocalls and fraud. Sorry if it appeared I was only targeting Indian centers in rant above.

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