Senate Minority Leader Pushes for Telecoms to Adopt Robocall-Blocking Technology

The Repeated Objectionable Bothering of Consumers on Phones Act (ROBOCOP) would require all carriers to offer free call-blocking technology to consumers.

by Samantha Madison, Observer-Dispatch / May 17, 2018
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(TNS) — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is planning on pushing for legislation in the Senate that would require mobile and landline carriers to offer free robocall-blocking technology to all consumers.

The legislation, called the Repeated Objectionable Bothering of Consumers on Phones Act (ROBOCOP) Act would also ask the Federal Communications Commission to require those telecom companies to verify that information on customer's caller identification screens is accurate, according to a news release Wednesday from Schumer's office.

"Despite the existing 'Do Not Call' registry, the robocall problem has returned in a serious way," Schumer said in the release. "It's an epidemic that we've got to stop — whether it's the landline or cell phone. It's taking far too long for telecom companies to act, so that's why I'm pushing the ROBOCOP bill, which will finally require all major landline and mobile carriers to make robocall blocking technology available to all consumers."

Consumers can put their phone numbers on the "do not call" list and the federal government has other rules companies must follow, but data from YouMail showed people received 3.4 billion robocalls during the month of April. That's an increase of almost 900 million calls each month from a year ago, the data shows found.

Despite federal laws, robocalls are the Federal Trade Commission's No. 1 complaint, receiving more than 1.9 million filings in the first five months of 2017, according to Schumer's office.

Because of that, Schumer said the federal government must do everything possible to make sure robocalls stop increasing year after year.

The FTC has tried a couple of times to develop robocall-blocking technology and Time Warner Cable, now Charter Communications, was providing its customers with access to Nomorobo, which blocks robocalls for those who have Internet-based service or voice over Internet protocol, Schumer said.

Because of that service being provided to some, Schumer is calling on other landline and mobile carriers to offer the same kind of call-blocking technology, the release said.

©2018 Observer-Dispatch, Utica, N.Y. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.