The RoboForce

The telecom industry has finally been called upon by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to combat the irritation caused by pre-recorded, auto-dialed “robocalls”. Talk of a joint private-public Robocall Strike Force have led to the appointment of a leader, AT&T CEO, Randall Stephenson. Along with a 60 day deadline, the Strike Force has been given the task of creating a path towards the removal of robocalls. The terms of the Strike Force were soon to follow words of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, stating that the mostly illegal calls have Americans fed up and that it was the number one complaint from consumers on a daily basis, totaling more than 200,000 complaints a year. An invasion of privacy leads mostly to identity theft, fraud and perpetuates the ad tracking atmosphere in current media platforms. It seems the good technology is losing out to the bad as the difference in their advances stems more and more issues. This is why the Strike Force will meet bimonthly in an attempt to recognize each other’s potential for revolutionizing the security against robocalls. The constant struggle to overwhelm their opponent leads each side of this war to the creation of new cyber technologies and innovations. The security vs. the invaders.

The aim is for this security is to be cross-carrier and multifaceted so the optimal number of consumers are able to access its benefits. It will require more than individual companies, plotting and funding, to overcome this enemy of the public. Through a prescreening in the call authentication, the Force hopes to be able to find out whether the caller is legal, along with an enhanced caller tracking system to locate the VoIP. Through this function, the degree of certainty is exponentially increase as to where the incoming call originates. This leads to third party call filters that have the ability to be used by both individual consumers and phone companies. Third party companies usually find a more creative solution to issues presented to one specific company. Finally, the Force needs to let the FCC know what they need to combat this issue, be it funds or man power. The funds would be allocated by the FCC, but removed from their annual budget. Wheeler expressed that he didn’t want the industry to be in a state of stasis over this software, as it seeks constant attention and needs constant updating.

Tim Marvin, the head of the End Robocalls campaign, believes this is an important first and serious step towards the end of all autonomous tele marketed ads. Marvin believes that it is the phone companies’ responsibility, coupled with the FCC, to take action against the bombardment of robocalls and affiliates who have consumers in such an outrage. He plans to hold the companies and the FCC accountable for their promises. The Union has tips and tricks to a more secure telecommunications network on their website.

This site outlines how to protect yourself and how companies can take steps to protect its consumers. Things such as free services for landlines to block all robocalls, provided in Canada but not the United States. Free services for VoIP, internet based phone services in the United States and apps for smartphones that are free to any user. These options wouldn’t cost much, as the software is inexpensive to users. Landline security would be harder to acquire.

Through recent technological advancements, “spoofing”, the act of a robocall disguising its origins and intentions, is able to be recognized, located and disregarded. Through this development, security is increased for all types of phone users and phone companies are able to decipher the best route to pursue to combat these robocalling enemies.

More than 65% of people who have received a robocall say they have been uncomfortable during the experience. While most robocalls consist of winning a cruise or a contest, others include legitimate business surveys, asking for a donation to a charity or cause, telemarketing for a business and soliciting for a political candidate or message.

Apple, Google and Microsoft are pairing with the big telecommunications companies to make this endeavor as quick and easy as possible. On top of their 60 day plan, they are drawing up a three year strategy that consists more of finding these robocallers and putting an end to it from the other side of the call. Rather than blocking them, just wipe them out from the programmer’s side.

This epidemic seems to be rallying competitors and consumers alike, unifying over a common enemy.