FCC approves robocall blocking
On June 6, the FCC approved a Declaratory Ruling and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to address unwanted robocalls to consumers. The Declaratory Ruling affirms that voice service providers may block unwanted robocalls “based on reasonable call analytics, as long as their customers are informed and have the opportunity to opt out of the blocking.” Among other things, the Declaratory Ruling clarifies that voice providers (i) may offer call blocking tools to their customers as a default, as opposed to an opt-in basis; and (ii) may offer customers tools that would allow customers to block calls from any number that is not listed in the customer’s contact list or other “white lists.” The FCC notes that a “white list” could be based on a customer’s contact list and would be updated as customers add and remove contacts from their phone. According to reports, the FCC also adopted language that was added to the May proposal, which encourages voice providers to devise a system for addressing complaints made by legitimate companies whose calls to customers are being blocked. The final Declaratory Ruling is effective upon its publication on the FCC’s website.
The FCC also adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) (available in the May proposal) requiring voice providers to implement the “STIR/SHAKEN” caller ID authentication framework—an “industry-developed system to authenticate Caller ID and address unlawful spoofing by confirming that a call actually comes from the number indicated in the Caller ID, or at least that the call entered the US network through a particular voice service provider or gateway.” The FCC asserts that once the “STIR/SHAKEN” is implemented, it would “reduce the effectiveness of illegal spoofing and allow bad actors to be identified more easily.” The deadline for comments in response to the NPRM will be established upon publication in the Federal Register.