There is no denying that annoying robocalls have become the bane of existence for US carrier subscribers, and getting even more so with each passing year. The FTC gets more than 200, 000 complaints of unauthorized robocalls a month, and that's from those who bother. Despite the successful introduction of a do-not-call list, a lot of fluff still slips through the cracks, like the infamous "Rachel from card services" robocalls we all know and hate.
Fret not, though, as the US House of Representatives has your back, and in a rare bipartisan move the lawmakers just passed
the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act nearly unanimously (417-3).
While we wonder what might have been the arguments behind the three congressmen's "nay" votes, besides the usual "too much authority" rant about the FCC, the carriers should take note, as the enforcement of said law falls squarely at their feet.
A whopping 5.6 billion robocalls were made to Americans in November alone
Carriers will now have to employ multi-pronged approaches to tackle the robocall and spam connections by verifying how legitimate a caller is against databases developed specifically for the purpose.
Priority will be given to one-ring scams (see the video above) that can bother a whole hospital Rolodex and doctors on the job that have no choice but to pick their phone and pay the subsequent charge.
The US carriers won't be alone in that fight, though, as the FCC will have to report to Congress on the regular how the implementation of the law is progressing, and give actionable info to the Department of Jusitce where robocalls are coming from, so it can update its prosecutorial guidelines against the spammer. As one of the bill's co-sponsors, Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), put it succinctly:
Today the House will take strong bipartisan action to protect consumers from illegal robocalls... and is giving Americans back control of their phones.