AT&T, Verizon, Google & Others Unite To Combat Robocalls


It doesn’t matter how careful you are with your number. Whether it’s by acquiring it from somebody or hitting your number on a random generator, or even obtaining your number illicitly, you’ve likely been called by a robot before. The typical robocall is initiated automatically and has the user talking to a recording, which eventually gives the option to either jump to another menu or talk to a human. With there is varying degrees of disdain against robocalls, the FCC made the final call not long ago and decided that robocalls weren’t worth the annoyance, then promptly began fighting against them. The continuance of that fight will apparently involve a pretty long list of names from both the telecom and tech sectors.

The newly formed “Robocall Strike Force” consists of various tech and telecom companies, who will be working with the FCC in various capacities toward the goal of ending robocalls once and for all. The group, which consists of big names like Alphabet, AT&T, Apple, and Verizon, had its first meeting on Friday, where they discussed the “scourge” that they were up against, with FCC chairman Tom Wheeler leading the charge. The group’s discussion for the first session mostly consisted of assessing and setting goals, as well as talking about a “comprehensive play book for all of us to go execute”, according to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson.

The full list of companies taking part in the “Robocall Strike Force” is quite large, and includes a number of big players like Microsoft, LG, BlackBerry, and T-Mobile US. While they have not yet announced a definitive meeting schedule or action plan, they are set to report publicly to the commission on October 19. Presumably, at that point, the strike force will be revealing their tools, tactics, plans, and other such details. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler stressed the obnoxiousness of robocalls in the initial meeting, citing them as the number one type of complaint that the FCC receives. While it may sound simple to just criminalize robocalling, there are multiple controversies and complications with that approach. Right now, individual providers and independent parties are creating apps, standards, and plans to block out robocallers, but they ultimately will roll on for the time being.