On August 10, the Consumer and Government Affairs Bureau released a Public Notice seeking to refresh the record on advanced methods to target and eliminate unlawful robocalls. With this Public Notice, the FCC aims to build upon its inquiry into provider-initiated call blocking, which it began in the March 2017 Call Blocking Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry and which led to new rules in November 2017 expressly authorizing providers to block clearly defined categories of calls highly likely to be illegal. The FCC now aims to “identify specific, enforceable criteria for targeting illegal calls that cannot be abused, while ensuring providers have sufficient flexibility available to adapt to dynamic calling patterns.”
The FCC poses several questions, including:
- whether providers can reliably identify calls that are highly likely to be illegal beyond those calls the FCC approved for blocking in the Call Blocking Report and Order and Further Notice;
- whether and how providers could use specific criteria to prevent illegal calls from reaching consumers;
- what the FCC can do to facilitate call traceback efforts and how SHAKEN/STIR will affect call traceback; and
- how to reduce the potential for false positives and how to address situations in which false positives occur.
Comments received on this Public Notice are likely to lay the groundwork for the FCC’s next major action on call blocking and methods to eliminate illegal robocalls. Comments are due on September 24 and reply comments are due on October 8.