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FCC threatens carriers with 'regulatory intervention' over robocalls

Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), warned phone service providers that if they don’t crack down on fraudulent caller IDs from robocallers his agency will step in with regulation.

Pai sent letters to major wireless carriers in November demanding that they adopt industry-wide frameworks to crackdown on the practice of “spoofing,” where robocallers mask a call’s origin with a fraudulent number on their caller ID. On Wednesday, the FCC chair followed up with another demand that they implement caller authentication systems this year and a threat over the repercussions if they don’t comply.

“American consumers are sick and tired of unwanted robocalls, this consumer among them,” Pai said in a statement on Wednesday. “If it appears major carriers won’t meet the deadline to get this done this year, the FCC will have to consider regulatory intervention.”

Some of the companies had responded to Pai’s November letters saying that the work could continue past the end of the year.

The protocols being urged on the phone industry would allow carriers to work in tandem to validate caller ID signatures before they reach the call recipient.

“Caller ID authentication will be a significant step towards ending the scourge of spoofed robocalls,” Pai said in his statement. “It’s time for carriers to implement robust caller ID authentication.

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