Death of robocalls: Silicon Valley giants collaborate to cull automated callers

AT&T is one of the main forces behind the culling of Robocalls

Most of us have had the extreme displeasure of answering a call from an unknown number just to have a ridiculously loud song or voice scream at us from the other end. Robocalls or automated telemarketers are the worst.

But people usually pick up the call, thinking it’s someone or something that needs urgent attention. This just chalks up one more win for telemarketers. Soon, it might come to an end. This scourge, as regulators call it, will be culled.

A collective of big firms such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, Samsung and Qualcomm are joining forces to help get rid of this form of marketing. Supporting them from the telecom side are giants like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Comcast. This impressive collaboration is being called the Robocall Strike Force.

Representatives from this group met recently and will convene again with the United States’ Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a more concrete plan to help get rid of telemarketers and robocallers. One of the methods discussed was to increase caller ID verification standards and help create a Do Not Originate list that would impede the automated callers from impersonating banks, government agencies and commercial entities.

CEO of AT&T, Randall Stephenson, wrote in an AT&T blog: “In parallel with technological solutions, we need our regulatory and law enforcement agencies to go after the bad actors. Shutting down the bad guys is a necessary step and a powerful example to others.”

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler was also quick to consider new rules and proposals to place further limits on these calls. He stated in an FCC blog: “We will tackle robocalls on as many fronts as possible, whether by implementing new rules, issuing tailored declaratory judgments, encouraging new pro-consumer innovation or urging the private sector to step up and stop this scourge. The bad guys are beating the good guys with technology, due in large part to industry inaction.”

It will be interesting to see how this strike force handles these annoying callers and if they can actually figure out a way to block them completely.