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Attorney General Josh Stein Leads Bipartisan Coalition Urging the FCC to Strengthen Efforts to Stop Robocalls

Release Date:
Monday, August 26, 2019

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today led a coalition of 51 attorneys general urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to require telecom companies to implement call blocking and call authentication solutions that would protect consumers from illegal robocalls and spoofing. Attorney General Stein’s comments to the FCC come after he led a bipartisan public-private coalition of 51 state attorneys general and 12 phone companies in announcing the Anti-Robocall Principles, an agreement of eight principles to protect phone users from illegal robocalls and make it easier for attorneys general to investigate scam callers.

“As I travel across the state, I hear regularly from North Carolinians about the plague of robocalls they receive daily,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “That’s why I worked with phone companies, industry leaders, and my fellow attorneys general to create the Anti-Robocall Principles and fight illegal calls. But to fully address these calls in a comprehensive way, we need to work together. That is why I am urging the FCC to  protect people from these harassing and illegal calls.”

In December 2018, Attorney General Stein formed and led a bipartisan group of 39 attorneys general to investigate technological solutions that major telecom companies were building to address robocalls. The group’s work and conversations with telecom companies led to the development of the Anti-Robocall Principles and the recommendations outlined in today’s comments letter to the FCC.

In their comments submitted to the FCC, Attorney General Stein and the coalition of attorneys general state that telecom providers should:

  • Offer free, automatic call-blocking services to all customers. The call-block services should be based on reasonable analytics and should not block important calls, including emergency alerts or automated calls that customers have signed up for, like medical reminders.
  • Monitor network traffic to identify patterns consistent with robocalls and take action to cut off the calls or notify law enforcement.
  • Implement the STIR/SHAKEN caller ID call authentication technology, which will help ensure that telephone calls are originating from secure, verified numbers, not spoofed sources. The coalition supports the FCC’s proposal to take regulatory action against telecom companies that do not comply with STIR/SHAKEN.
  • Develop caller ID authentication to prevent robocalls to landline telephones. This is particularly urgent because many of the people scammed by robocall scammers are elderly consumers or live in rural areas and primarily use landline technology.

Attorney General Stein is joined in sending this letter by the Attorneys General of all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

A copy of the comments is here.

 

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