FCC Adopts New Rules to Battle Robocalls

The Federal Communications Commission has adopted a new rule that requires gateway providers — companies that connect calls between networks — to comply with STIR/SHAKEN caller ID protocols and take additional measures to verify the identity of providers whose traffic they are routing or face having their calls blocked from being connected. The FCC also announced it is seeking comment on a proposal to expand robocall mitigation requirements to intermediate providers in the United States, not just gateway companies. In comments about the new rule, Jessica Rosenworcel, the chair of the FCC, reiterated comments calling on Congress to expand the definition of an automated telephone dialing system to undo a “perverse” decision from the Supreme Court.

While the moves announced by the FCC are aimed at keeping foreign-originated robocalls from making it to consumers here in the United States, there are short-term implications for anyone using a gateway provider and longer-term issues if the FCC moves forward with its plan to apply anti-robocall and spoofing rules to intermediate providers, as well.

“Robocalls are aggravating,” Rosenworcel said in a statement. “What is worse is when we crack down on these junk calls, the scam artists behind them find new ways to reach us. Increasingly, that means robocalls are coming in from overseas. In fact, one study suggests that last year as much as two-thirds of this stuff may now come from abroad.”

In his comments about the new rule, FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks called on gateway providers and those in the downstream process to not just block robocall traffic, but all calls from identified providers. “This is an important incentive to providers to keep illegal traffic off your networks,
and a shot across the bow to bad actors,” he said.

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