Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced Dec. 11 that he is part of a bipartisan group of 40 state attorneys general working to stop or reduce annoying and harmful robocalls. This coalition is reviewing the technology major telecom companies are pursuing to combat illegal robocalls.
“Any meaningful solution to the explosion in unwanted robocalls to homes and businesses must be based on technology, not merely law enforcement,” Schmidt said. “With an estimated 30 billion robocalls made to Americans last year, and more than one-third of those being scams, it is clear that after-the-fact enforcement alone cannot solve the problem. Technology has enabled this harassment, and we need technology to help stop it.”
Since it was formed earlier this year, the multistate group has had in-depth meetings with several major telecom companies. These productive meetings have led to greater information sharing about the technological capabilities currently in existence or in development to fight these unwanted calls.
In October, the attorneys general filed formal comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging several regulatory changes that would enable telecom companies to develop and deploy better robocall-prevention technologies. One type of new technology that they recommended, known by the acronym SHAKEN/STIR, is expected to be deployed next year and is designed to authenticate the incoming phone numbers presented on caller IDs to counter “spoofing” and make call-blocking more effective.
Schmidt and his colleagues are working to:
• Develop a detailed understanding of what is technologically feasible to minimize unwanted robocalls and illegal telemarking,
• Engage the major telecom companies to encourage them to expedite the best possible solutions for consumers, and
• Determine whether states should make further recommendations to the FCC.
This working group is led by Attorney General Josh Stein (NC), Attorney General Curtis Hill (IN), and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald (NH). In addition to Kansas, the group includes attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
For more information about what consumers can do to fight against unwanted robocalls, see the attorney general’s Consumer Protection website at www.InYourCornerKansas.org.