Bill Introduced To Provide Free Technology To Block Robocalls

April 20, 2018 8:00 am · 24 comments

Rep. Jackie Speier introduced legislation this week directing the Federal Communications Commission to require that phone companies provide free technology to block robocalls.

Speier said the National Do Not Call Registry has failed to protect utility customers from scammers, resulting in an estimated $350 million lost annually.

The Repeated Objectionable Bothering of Consumers on Phones Act, or ROBOCOP, would also require telecom companies to verify the accuracy of caller ID information, with exceptions for domestic violence shelters, medical offices and other customers with legitimate needs to alter that information, according to Speier’s office.

It would also authorize the creation of a nationwide “unblocking system” to help customers control the calls and text messages they receive, and require the FCC and Federal Trade Commission to develop a public report
on whether the new rules and tools are effective.

“The public has been subjected to harassing robocalls for years,” Speier said today in a statement. “It’s time Congress took action.

“I know, I experienced it first hand when I was sick with the flu and tormented by ceaseless sales pitches,” she added.

Companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Speier said.

USA April 20, 2018 at 8:06 AM

There has been free technology for years for cellular users. The app is called “HiYa” and it is a crowd based service (kinda like a Yelp) that simply blocks calls that are on a known spam list that everyone contributes to.

You’re welcome.

As far as home phones, unplug it and use it for emergencies.

Pacificgas&explosions April 20, 2018 at 8:35 AM

Thank you for this! I have a different app and it sucks. Have been looking for one that works.

Wrigleygum April 20, 2018 at 8:10 AM

We don’t need or have a land line, problem solved. Don’t get robocalls on our cell numbers, never have.
Dump your land line people, you don’t need it.

Dee April 20, 2018 at 8:56 AM

You must be one of the lucky ones …get them on our cells all the time we just don’t answer them Figure if it’s for real they can leave a message and will call them back

Simonpure April 20, 2018 at 9:35 AM

Get calls on my work cell almost daily. Hate it!

CalOldBlue April 20, 2018 at 9:52 AM

I get robocalls on my cell phone all the time.

TOB April 20, 2018 at 12:01 PM

Cell Phone will not help 911 locate you only nearest cell tower. If no land line and medical emergency at home at least be smart and register for smart911 which lets you complete a profile with info to assist emergency services. It works! Sister has worked 25 yrs 911 biggest complaint is cell phones. Smart911 helps them help you if no landline in home.

Concord Res April 20, 2018 at 8:23 AM

The problem is they are also spoofing local numbers which change each time they call which will make blocking the numbers a daily challenge. Good idea not sure the phone companies are going to have software to stop the calls.

Pacificgas&explosions April 20, 2018 at 8:35 AM

Actually, they can differentiate the spoofing vs. real calls easily. Just costs money to implement it.

No More! April 20, 2018 at 8:53 AM

For your home phone use

Dorothy April 20, 2018 at 9:04 AM

I like the acronym: ROBOCOP.

Kentucky Derby April 20, 2018 at 9:05 AM

Sounds like a good idea, but I can see scammers getting around this technology too. I still think the easiest thing is Caller ID, and not answering the phone to anyone you don’t know. The scammers will give up and stop calling.

MoJo April 20, 2018 at 9:22 AM

Get rid of your landline at your own risk. When you call 911 on a landline it gets routed to the nearest dispatch center and the address where you are located comes up on the screen. When you call 911 on your cell phone it gets routed to the CHP dispatch center in Vallejo and your location is not given. This can cause significant delays and sometimes you will even be put on hold because of the backlog of calls. Always better to use a landline in an emergency if possible.

TOB April 20, 2018 at 12:02 PM
RANDOM TASK April 20, 2018 at 9:28 AM


It would also authorize the creation of a nationwide “unblocking system” to help customers control the calls and text messages they receive,

HERE IS THE JUICE OF THE STORY AS IN MORE MONEY (and require the FCC and Federal Trade Commission to develop a public report
on whether the new rules and tools are effective).


Simonpure April 20, 2018 at 2:54 PM

You need a new keyboard. No one takes a serious minute to listen when your yelling all the time.

Jojo Potato April 20, 2018 at 9:43 AM

How about just prohibiting spoofing caller ID? That would solve most of the problem very simply.

Hmmmm April 20, 2018 at 9:51 AM

“Except other customers with legitimate needs to alter that information”

Typical loophole.

Rollo Tomasi April 20, 2018 at 9:57 AM

I wonder if they spend as much time writing these proposed bills as they spend finding a title that can be formed into a catchy acronym.

That said, this seems like a good idea.

chuckie the troll April 20, 2018 at 10:28 AM

Want to stop robocalls? Use technology to hunt down the perps responsible for them, break every bone in both their hands, and if they are ever caught doing it again, make them the guest of honor at a Pinata Party.

WC resident April 20, 2018 at 11:20 AM

This proposed legislation wants the call blocking to be “free.” If you look at a phone bill you will discover a long list of “free” services that we pay for:
Federal Subscriber Line Charge
Rate Surcharge (this one has been a credit for many years)
State Regulatory Fee
Federal Universal Service Fee
CA High Cost Fund Surcharge-A:
CA High Cost Fund-B and CA Advanced Svc Fund
California Teleconnect Fund Surcharge
Universal Lifeline Telephone Service Surcharge
CA Relay Service and Communications Devices Fund
9-1-1 Emergency System
Federal (there’s no explanation on the phone bill. It just said “Federal” and the price keeps going up)

FWIW, “Federal Subscriber Line Charge” is money that goes straight into the pockets of the phone company!

@Pacificgas&explosions – It’s not easy to detect improper versus allowed spoofing. Many business phone systems spoof. My business phone allows me to enter any number I want in the caller-ID field. Normally I would use one of the numbers related to my business but there are no restrictions on what number can enter.

Larger businesses have call centers in the Philippines, India, and Malaysia. When the call center makes calls on behalf of the business they will usually spoof a USA phone number.

I’m pretty certain that when a residential customer takes advantage of number portability that there’s also spoofing. For example, if I were to move to the 213 area code but want to keep my 925 area code number the phone company in Los Angeles would assign a 213 area code number for internal record-keeping purposes but when I make calls they spoof my 925 number.

The Google Voice and similar services also will spoof any number you desire when you make a call.

Scammers and spammers have discovered this feature of the phone network and and have built phone systems that spoof randomly generated phone numbers that are local to whoever they are calling.

What I would like to see is a system where I enter a list of the phone numbers that are allowed to call me. If you are not on my allowed list then you will get hit with a greeting that explains the process you will need to go through to get added to my allowed list.

Livin downtown April 20, 2018 at 1:03 PM

I use no more robo through Comcast. Works great. The do not call list was a massave failure. I hope the bill passes.

Nunya April 20, 2018 at 4:56 PM

This bill won’t stop anything as long as people can lie about the number they are calling from.

Nunya April 20, 2018 at 4:55 PM

You know our politicians are idiots when they make their laws have the same name as some dumb movie from the 80’s.

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