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President Trump signs law to reduce robocalls

2020-01-02 13:47 by


President Trump this week signed the TRACED Act, the first federal law designed to curb unwanted robocalls. With the problem of robocalls running rampant, the legislation passed with strong support in both the Democratic-led House and the Republican-led Senate.

The bipartisan Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, first introduced in November 2018, increases fines on spam robocallers from $1,500 to as much as $10,000 per illegal call and otherwise instructs the Federal Communications Commission to crack down on robocallers. Crucially, the law also aims to hasten the rollout of call-authentication technology by telecommunication companies that blocks calls made with spoofed numbers—the one part of this law that stands a real chance of making a difference.

"This historic legislation will provide American consumers with even greater protection against annoying unsolicited robocalls," the White House said in a statement late Monday. "American families deserve control over their communications, and this legislation will update our laws and regulations to stiffen penalties, increase transparency, and enhance government collaboration to stop unwanted solicitation."

The FCC is already planning to mandate that carriers implement its SHAKEN/STIR authentication system to help combat robocalls. In March, AT&T and Comcast announced that they successfully tested the first SHAKEN/STIR-authenticated call between two different telecom networks.

However, this isn't likely to completely stop the deluge of robocalls. Perpetrators that are willing to use real numbers (including hijacked ones) or find clever software tricks might still get through, and some may be willing to take risks knowing that the payoff from successful scams could be high. And remember, this only applies to illegal calls.

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