Remember this guy with his goofy mug? The one who made the news with his net neutrality fiasco? So, last week, this guy, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, allowed automatic robocall blocking by telephone carriers without first obtaining customers’ permission. Yay! While the ruling enables carriers to block suspicious incoming calls, they must give customers the opportunity to “opt out” of this default setting.
Chairman Pai stated that robocalls are “badgering” consumers and default call-blocking is a cost-effective way to handle these calls, but companies such as debt-collection agencies and health care organizations that regularly use robocall technology to place legitimate calls fear those calls may be unfairly blocked along with scams. The ruling attempts to provide for this by requiring default call blocking programs to provide legitimate callers with a complaint and resolution process. The rule also provides for a “safe harbor” for companies that use authentication technology to aid in identifying legitimate callers. However, if a carrier uses this technology and cannot verify a caller using it, they may block the call. The ruling also states that carriers may offer customers the ability to block calls from those not on their contact list. While the ruling enables carriers to block suspicious incoming calls, they must give customers the opportunity to “opt out” of this default setting.
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