AT&T Is Leading a Crackdown on Obnoxious Robocalls

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#ATT #RobotsAT&T Is Leading a Crackdown on Obnoxious Robocalls : AT&T said this week it’s forming a “strike force” to beat back robocalls that interrupt your dinner and trick you into talking to prerecorded messages, in response to mounting complaints by consumers and public officials. These robocalls are illegal under federal law if you haven’t opted in to receive them.

Yet thousands of Americans a year are being hit with automated calls and texts against their will, officials say, sometimes simply because they’ve switched to a phone number that’s already on some marketer’s list. There’s not much you can do to prevent yourself from getting robo-called, which is why regulators and lawmakers have been pressuring the industry to take action.

The strike force on robocalls won’t just involve AT&T, but also potentially other wireless carriers, cellphone manufacturers and software developers. Its objective? To come up with ways to make sure marketers and other robo-callers can’t get around regulations and blacklists aimed at blocking those calls.

The big trick here is developing technology that can better identify when a call is coming from a suspect source before a consumer answers the phone. As part of the effort, AT&T said in a blog post that the strike force plans to craft a “Do Not Originate” list – which sounds a lot like a “Do Not Call” list that simply contains a list of numbers known to generate robocalls.

AT&T also vowed to embrace newer caller ID standards that could also help cut down on phone spam. Although federal regulators last year cleared the way for carriers like AT&T to offer call-blocking services, in some cases those services charge a fee to consumers. That’s not good enough, Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said in a blog post last week.