FCC Acts Against Spam Calls and Messages By Handing Control to Carriers
The FCC today approved several declaratory rulings that aim to protect consumers from robocalls and spam messages. Though the move was taken under the guise of safeguarding everyday people, the changes in effect give carriers more control over their networks in ways that could harm consumers. First, the FCC agreed to create a database of reassigned numbers. Legitimate callers can check the list to see if the party they intend to reach is still available at a given number. If the number has been reassigned, callers cannot dial that number until the new owner gives them permission. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel called for this tool to be made freely available to consumers. Second, the FCC reclassified text (SMS) and picture/video (MMS) messages as information services, rather than telecommunications services. The latter would allow for more government regulation of such services. This move gives carriers more control over messaging services through robotext-blocking and anti-spoofing measures. Many fear this change will allow carriers to block or censor legitimate messages that they might not like. Commission Rosenworcel fully dissented on the latter declaratory ruling. “Today the FCC makes the same mess for text messages it did for Net Neutrality last year,” said Rosenworcel via her Twitter account. “That means your carrier now has the legal right to block your text messages and censor the very content of your messages themselves.”
Dec 13, 2019
Google has added two major new features to its Messages app for Android phones: Verified SMS and spam protection. Verified SMS is a way for Google to confirm that SMS messages claiming to come from a participating business are, in fact, legitimate messages from that company.
Dec 17, 2019
Sprint has joined T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T in offering a free service with basic protection against fraud and spam callers. Like the free services already offered by other carriers, Sprint's new Call Screener Basic can block the highest-risk fraud calls, and identify other likely spam calls as they ring.
Nov 21, 2018
The FCC may hand wireless carriers another victory over consumers next month if it decides to reclassify text messages. The FCC is weighing methods to reduce robocalls and spam messages.
Nov 5, 2018
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai sent letters to more than a dozen telephone service providers today asking them for a status update on their efforts to curb robocalls. He demanded these companies deploy a system that authenticates the identity of callers as those calls transit the networks with the goal of identifying and squashing spoofed numbers and spam.
Oct 24, 2018
Addressing attendees at a privacy conference in Brussels, Apple CEO Tim Cook said new, national privacy laws are needed to govern how personal data is collected and used by big companies. Apple has prided itself on doing what it can to safeguard customer privacy, and even went head-to-head with the FBI when it refused to unlock a customer's iPhone.