On Thursday, the US Senate passed an anti-robocalling bill, with a vote of 97-1. The result wasn't much of a surprise, as not a single person likes getting robocalls.
This bill was introduced by Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), and it is called the TRACED Act. Now that it has passed through the US Senate, the next stop is the House of Representatives.
When it gets passed through the house, it would raise the fines that the FCC is able to levy on robocallers, and also increase the statute of limitations for bringing those cases. This would also create and agency within the FCC, that would address the problem. That task force would then be able to push carriers to deploy call authentication systems like the STIR/SHAKEN protocols that the FCC is pushing – and T-Mobile has already enabled.
Senator Markey stated that "it's a daily deluge of calls that Americans experience. It's a consumer protection crisis. Consumers around the country face an epidemic of robocalls." And he is absolutely correct. Robocalls are over 80-percent of the calls that consumers get every single day. And they are never for anything interesting. Luckily some carriers are now marking them as spam, or not even allowing your phone to ring when those robocalls do come in. Which has made things slightly better.
As companies get better at combating these robocalls, however, robocallers get better at getting around them and still getting to the consumer. That is why the ability to fine robocallers more heavily is a big deal.
As mentioned already, the bill now moves onto the House of Representatives. But it's unlikely to not get passed in the House, considering the overwhelming vote for this bill in the Senate. Only a single Senator voted against the bill, and that was Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky.
This is a cause that the FCC Commissioner, Ajit Pai is actually on-board with. Considering he has been on the opposite side of most issues that Americans are on, this is actually a bit surprising. He actually began forcing US carriers to start implementing the STIR/SHAKEN protocol earlier this year. As a way to combat these robocalls. And now with more authority, these robocalls should start going away, or at least decreasing.
Last year, over 48 million calls in the US were robocalls. And that number is expected to at least double in 2019. But the government isn't standing by and letting it happen. Which is a bit surprising, to be perfectly honest, especially with the current administration. Robocalls are not only annoying, but they are costing Americans time and money, that could be better spent elsewhere.
Thanks to the internet, robocalls have really thrived. This is because robocallers are able to use the internet to make calls from other countries (like China, India and Russia), for little to no cost. And unfortunately, users have noticed a huge uptick in robocalls in the past decade. Hopefully the TRACED Act will help combat these annoying calls once and for all.