Robocall Strike Force, UNITE! (Or Something)


The FCC has put together a "Robocall Strike Force," and while that might sound ominous, it's really just a group of tech companies getting together to try to stop people from annoying you with spam phone calls.

The group—which includes Apple, Comcast, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, T-Mobile, Verizon, and dozens more—held its first meeting today (sadly, not in an underground lair, but at FCC headquarters in Washington, D.C).

"Robocallers are a formidable adversary, notoriously hard to stop," AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, chair of the strike force, said at today's meeting. "So far, we've all been coming at this problem piecemeal with limited success.

"Our goal isn't complicated: Stop unwanted robocalls," Stephenson said. "Easy to say. Hard to do."

The strike force is expected to report back to the Commission by Oct. 19 with concrete plans for the development and adoption of new tools, as well as recommendations on the government's role.

This comes after FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last month urged phone companies to offer call-blocking services to customers and better prevent the spoofing of Caller ID numbers. The FCC is still collecting public comment on that proposal through next week.

Robocalls span a wide range, from those that are legal but unwanted—telemarketers and public opinion surveyors—to the blatantly illegal—those violating the Do Not Call registry or trying to steal your money or identity.

All 33 members of the strike force have already committed to five things: conforming to caller ID standards, adopting SS7 solutions, evaluating the feasibility of a "Do Not Originate" list, developing and implementing new solutions, and adopting call-blocking tech.

Check out a full list of the FCC's Robocall Strike Force members below:

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