Congress Passed a Law Against "Robocalls"
Do you ever get those random calls about reducing your credit card debt, winning a vacation you never signed up for, or about a warranty ending on a vehicle that you never purchased? These spam calls are often annoying and frustrating. There is good news though. Congress just approved a bill as of 12/19/2019 that is expected to be signed into law any day now. This bill takes several actions towards preventing these fake calls, including filters through your service providers and steep fines to companies that get caught using these automated "robocalls".
Why is This Just Now Happening?
Spam calls, phone number spoofing and robocalls are nothing new, so why is this becoming a federal issue now? The Federal Communications Commission has been trying to make progress with this issue for several years now. Several times they have warned major carrier networks like AT&T, Sprint and Verizon that if they can not make satisfactory progress on their own then the government will pass legislature requiring them to address it. Verizon implemented the system earlier in the year, but it is not available with prepaid phone. T-mobile already offers the service, and other carriers were expected to follow. Apparently the efforts were not fast or effective enough for the FCC, as they took it to congress and it passed unanimously.
The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED Act)
The new act, passed by Congress, merely needs a signature from President Trump to be passed into law. The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, also known as the TRACED Act, will give the federal government new abilities to trace and prosecute illegal robocallers. Once the TRACED Act goes into law, the Federal Communications Commission would be allowed to fine robocallers up to $10,000 per call. This will also require all major carrier networks to implement a new call monitoring system known as STIR/SHAKEN.
This new technology has been in the works for some time now. Verizon has had the system in place now for quite some time, but until March of this year, it was a paid service that cost an extra $2.99 per month. AT&T just released a version of this system that validates call on certain Android phone by providing a green check mark next to validated phone number. So far this is only available on the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, and the LG V40 ThinQ.
A Rare Event In Congress
Seeing this bill pass through Congress with such ease is something that is rarely seen. It is truly bipartisan, according to Senator John Thurne (R-SD). "This bill represents a unique legislative effoty that is not only bipartisan at its core, but it's nearly unanimously supported in Congress." It truly is a rare sight to see Republicans and Democrats agree on something in Congress. As Thurne pointed out though, "I have yet to meet someone who says they enjoy receiving those unwanted and illegal robocalls that plague our phones.
Hopefully in the next few weeks we will see this bill get signed. Once it does, major carrier networks will likely be on the clock to implement the STIR/SHAKEN systems before they begin receiving hefty fines. This should help us all avoid the annoying calls so we can look forward to our phone ringing.