State AGs Call For Carriers to Beef Up Efforts to Catch Illegal Robocallers

Every state attorney general, along with the AGs from Puerto Rico and American Samoa are “contemplat[ing]” issuing more subpoenas and civil investigative demand letters to help trace the origins of illegal robocallers, according to a letter that was sent yesterday to an association representing wireless phone carriers.

The letter summarizes the initiatives that were discussed at a meeting earlier this year between the Executive Committee of the Robocall Technologies Working Group for the National Association of Attorneys General and USTelecom, which includes many of the leading telecom providers across the country. USTelecom participates in the Industry Traceback Group, which seeks to identify the sources of illegal robocalls.

It is the ITG that the AGs are looking at issuing subpoenas and CIDs to, to help them better analyze data and identify trends through pattern recognition. The AGs want the ITG to expand its capabilities and they identified several priorities that should be undertaken, including:

  • Utilizing a wider variety of call data sources to both diversify and aggregate as much pertinent robocall data as possible;
  • Enabling law enforcement agencies to upload and receive responses to subpoenas and civil investigative demands electronically;
  • Analyzing such data to identify past, current, and future illegal robocall campaigns and trends and to better understand the interconnected ecosystem of businesses facilitating illegal robocallers;

By creating a platform to collect live data in real-time, law enforcement agencies would be able to act faster and possibly even obtain temporary restraining orders to stop illegal robocalling campaigns as they are happening.

“These fraudulent calls are a pain to all of us, and they’re a threat to vulnerable people who have no reason to doubt the voice on the other end of the line,” said Dave Yost, the attorney general of Ohio, in a news release. “Partnerships like this one are helping us develop the cutting-edge tools we need to stop the nuisance once and for all.”

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