Who’s this? Someone calling from an unfamiliar number? This being 2016, it must be awfully urgent. You answer your phone only to have a ship’s horn blare in your ear, then the jovial (if slightly grainy) voice of a recorded cruise ship captain tells you that it’s your lucky day, because you might be eligible for the vacation of a lifetime!
Regulators are calling these increasingly common pre-recorded sales calls a “scourge,” but the good news is that a slew of major tech companies have elected to put aside their respective differences in order to combat this greater evil.
Being referred to tongue-in-cheek as the “Robocall Strike Force,” this group includes the likes of AT&T, Alphabet, Verizon, Apple, Qualcomm, Microsoft, Samsung, T-Mobile, and Comcast. The team numbers more than 30 companies strong, and they have agreed to work in conjunction with the FCC to make these automated calls a thing of the past.
The group met for the first time this Friday, and they plan on reconvening with the FCC by October 19 with more concrete plans to put into effect. Although this initiative is still in its infancy, the team wants to increase caller ID verification standards and begin creating a “Do Not Originate” list that would make it harder for robocallers to impersonate banks, government agencies, or commercial entities.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler isn’t one to mince words. “The bad guys are beating the good guys with technology,” he said, “due in large part to industry inaction.”
The bad guys are beating the good guys with technology.
“We have to come out of this with a comprehensive play book for all of us to go execute,” said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. “We have calls that are perfectly legal, but unwanted, like telemarketers and public opinion surveyors. At the other end of the spectrum, we have millions of calls that are blatantly illegal.”
What are your thoughts regarding this band of carriers, OS devs, network designers, device makers, and government agencies all coming together to take down the annoyance of robocalls? Will they be successful in their quest? Let us know what you predict in the comments below!