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CBS: FTC's Efforts to Fight Robocalls 'Significant'

October 19, 2017
By Paula Bernier - Executive Editor, TMC


A recent report by CBS News documents Congressional testimony by the Federal Trade Commission about the agency’s progress in eliminating – or at least lessening – illegal robocalling.


“The process has been significant,” the media outlet suggests.

In Oct. 4 comments, Lois Greisman, associate director of the FTC’s (News - Alert) division of marketing practices, reported that her agency has leveled lawsuits against 144 businesses and 102 individuals charged with using computer dialing to make illegal robocalls. And those efforts resulted in the payment of $292 million in damages.

“The FTC’s biggest win to date was a $280 million judgement against Dish Network last June,” CBS News said, adding that Dish is appealing that ruling

(There was no mention in the CBS News report as to what the government spent to yield these results, or who will benefit from that money or how.)

Another sign of encouragement, CBS News suggests, is that the Federal Communications Commission is working to make it easier for communications services providers to block calls before they reach consumer phones. But a December Ars Technica article sheds some light on that point.

Ars Technica reporter Jon Brodkin wrote “AT&T (News - Alert) has a somewhat odd recent history with robocall blocking. In May of [2016], AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that his company doesn’t have ‘permission’ or ‘appropriate authority’ to block robocalls, even though the Federal Communications Commission had clearly stated that the carriers do have that authority.”

Then AT&T unveiled Call Protect in December. Brodkin’s story was about that free robocall blocking service for smartphone customers served by AT&T. Consumers can also block robocalls using tools like Nomorobo.

Robocalling complaints are on the rise. The FTC got 330,264 of them in January, according to CBS News. In August there were 604,785.

In July of 2015 the FCC (News - Alert) made a declaratory ruling talking about how much consumers dislike robocalls and telemarketing texts. And it discusses “heightened protection to wireless consumers, for whom robocalls can be costly and particularly intrusive.” That seems to helped fuel an increase in litigation related to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which went into effect in 1991.




Edited by Mandi Nowitz



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