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FCC Votes Unanimously to Allow Phone Carriers to Auto Block Robocalls

In a unanimous, bipartisan vote, the FCC has ruled that phone carriers can block robocalls by default. Thus, ending a surge of unwanted automated calls that consumers have complained about for years. The new rule requires carriers to adopt an ID authentication system called “SHAKEN / STIR” by year’s end.

The robocalls are one of few issues the FCC has total consensus on, regardless of political affiliation. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican member calls them the “scourge of civilization.” In May, another FCC member, Geoffrey Starks, a Democrat, told The Verge robocalls, “changed the fabric of our culture.”

Chairman Pai proposed the blocking rule, two weeks ago. Some mobile carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile have offered robocall-blocking services for a while. However, these services were opt-in features. The new rule allows carriers to also restrict incoming calls to numbers already in your contact list.

A press release on the ruling reads:

“The Commission approved a Declaratory Ruling to affirm that voice service providers may, as the default, block unwanted calls… as long as their customers are informed and have the opportunity to opt out of the blocking.”

The statement goes on to say:

“Providers may offer their customers the choice to opt-in to tools that block calls from any number that does not appear on a customer’s contact list… this option would allow consumers to decide directly whose calls they are willing to receive.”

The new rule doesn’t require carriers to activate robocall blocking nor does it require that service to be free. It is very possible some carriers may opt to charge a fee for the service.

At the present time, it is uncertain as to how this will all pan out. Just know that it will be an option and relief is coming. What it means in the long-term remains to be seen. We will keep you informed.

What do you think about the new FCC ruling about robocalls? Do you think this will change anything or will telemarketers find new ways to hack your phone? Let us know what you think in the comments below or contact us for more information! Feel free to shoot us an email to Outreach@ConsiderTheConsumer.com. You can also find us on TwitterFacebook, InstagramLinkedIn, or even connect with us directly on our website!

About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, political analyst and literary agent. She appears weekly for “Staggers’ State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been published by Paper Magazine, AfroPunk, The Spool, GREY Journal, MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!



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