According to PBS, it’s been more than a decade since the federal government first came up with a do not call registry to block unwanted phone calls.
That move initially had a major impact. In the years since, there’s been a big rise in the number of “robocalls” people get – automated and recorded phone calls and texts that repeatedly go to your phone.
According to newsfactor.com, the FCC approved what it calls “declaratory rulings” that affirm your rights to control incoming calls from political campaigns, survey-takers, charities and the like. They are also moving to protect people from spam texts.
The FCC made it clear that telephone companies can allow you to use robocall-blocking technology.
Tom Wheeler is the chairman of the FCC, and he spoke to Judy Woodruff at PBS. Below are some excerpts:
JUDY WOODRUFF: So how is this rule different than the previous one having to do with robocalls?
TOM WHEELER: Well, the original rule is a result of a 1991 act of Congress. And 24 years ago, the world was a little different in terms of technology.
The people who were making the calls that interrupted your dinner at that point in time literally were sitting down and dialing. And that technology, that approach got replaced by new technology that’s computerized, like everything else. So, they just feed a list of numbers in and all of a sudden a list of calls get made.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What about the argument from some companies out there who say, well, this is preventing us from doing legitimate phone calling, that this is really reaching too far?
TOM WHEELER: Well, the key to legitimacy is that the consumer wants to be contacted. Now, we have got a couple of exceptions in the rule.
For instance, if your bank discovers a bank fraud, they can call you automatically. If your hospital or doctor says, oh, there’s a medical emergency, they can call you automatically. But, basically, it comes down to, do you consent that you want to be called? You ought to be in control.