May 15, 2019

Wall Street Journal Quotes Dan Blynn on FCC Plans to Block Unwanted Robocalls

2 min

On May 15, 2019, Dan Blynn was quoted in the Wall Street Journal regarding the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) announcement that it will take steps to give phone companies permission to block unwanted robocalls.

According to the article, Americans get billions of unwanted phone calls annually, making it the number 1 complaint received by the FCC. But carriers have long been wary of blocking robocalls, for fear of breaking the regulator's call-completion rules that require phone companies to make sure calls reach their intended recipient.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai said that the commission has scheduled a June 6 vote on a measure that would ensure phone companies that block unwanted calls won't run afoul of federal rules. The agency said it would enable phone companies to analyze their network traffic to spot and block robocalls. They could let customers create so-called white lists of approved callers and block all other incoming calls.

The moves – particularly the portion allowing consumers to limit the calls they receive to just people or businesses in their contact lists – are likely to meet resistance from companies whose calls are legal, but often unwanted and considered annoying by recipients, such as debt collectors.

"Unwanted calls are not necessarily unlawful calls," said Blynn. He added that the proposals come with some unanswered questions, such as how a legitimate company that is making legal calls and is placed on a spam caller list can remove itself from it.