Answering the Call on Robocalling

Posted by: Bob Quinn on July 25, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Last week, AT&T’s Chairman and CEO, Randall Stephenson, received a letter from Chairman Wheeler addressing the robocalls that continue to plague our industry and our customers.  AT&T agrees that decisive action is needed. Indeed, AT&T has separately called for the development of comprehensive and industry-wide solutions to address these unwanted, illegal and often fraudulent calls.

As the letter noted, telecommunications providers must play a vital role in attacking the robocalling problem and AT&T is prepared to take a leadership position in the industry in the development of comprehensive solutions. We currently allow many of our customers to block calls using black-listing software like Nomorobo and we are committed to providing our customers with the best blocking tools available for use with their knowledge and consent.

But call blocking alone will not address the problem as robocallers continue to develop ways to evade established filters and black lists. To effectively stem the tide of these calls, the communications industry – network providers, handset makers and device OS developers alike – must work together to ensure that only calls from legitimate callers and those associated with legitimate and unaltered numbers are sent to consumer phones.

For these reasons, and at the request of Chairman Wheeler, Mr. Stephenson has agreed to chair a new Robocalling Strike Force, the mission of which will be to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions to abate the proliferation of robocalls and to make recommendations to the FCC on the role government can play in this battle.

Furthermore, in a response to the FCC today, AT&T confirmed and committed to the specific requests in Chairman Wheeler’s letter: AT&T will conform to emerging IETF and ATIS VOIP caller ID verification standards as soon as they are available; AT&T will investigate and adopt, where viable, SS7 solutions associated with VOIP calls, in accordance with adopted verification standards; AT&T will work together with the industry, the standards bodies and through the new task force on a “Do Not Originate” list for the purpose of identifying suspicious calls originating outside of the United States; and AT&T will facilitate efforts by other carriers to adopt call blocking technologies on their networks.

AT&T joins Chairman Wheeler and his staff in the commitment to bring the industry together to protect consumers from unwanted communications and to rid our communications networks of these unwanted and pernicious calls.

Comments (4)

This is all well and good, but I can give you a concrete way to stop robocallers.

AT&T refuses to allow it’s customers to block more than 6 phone numbers.

Why?

In the interest of consumer security, ALLOW CUSTOMERS TO BLOCK AS MANY NUMBERS AS THEY WISH!!!

It may not block robocallers at the source, but at least it will make it easier to stop them at the customer end.

AT&T has NO excuse for limiting the number of blocked phone numbers to 6.

It is inexcusable.

A. Mann August 26, 2016 at 11:01 am

I received a robocall today, from my own number! How does that even work. They wanted last 4 digits of SS# and account PIN code. I entered random numbers, and then it said, “the flag has been lifted from your account.” Can anyone let me know what this is?

Allison Lund August 30, 2016 at 4:09 pm

What I don’t understand – every number that dials out must go through a network. Why can’t these be traced when it is seen there is a robocall system operating. Even if computer generated calls – people are being asked to call someone back – That is where they must have connection to a number. If a phone is connected – it can be tracked. If the fines were applied and people were going to jail for invasion of privacy – it would stop.

Blake Escudier October 5, 2016 at 4:22 pm

I use a free call block app on my cell phone that can use a white list (my contact list) to block all calls not in my contact list. It’s much less likely that the robocall will spoof that small contact list. AT&T could do that same and that would be so much less work than adding the half dozen calls I get each day to a black list.

Robert Green November 3, 2016 at 6:39 pm

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