On August 10, 2018, the Consumer and Government Affairs Bureau (“Bureau”) released a Public Notice (“Notice”) seeking to refresh the record on advanced methods and criteria to identify and block illegal robocalls (CG Docket No. 17-59). The Bureau aims to identify specific, enforceable criteria for targeting illegal calls while ensuring providers have sufficient flexibility to adopt dynamic calling patterns. The Notice asks commenters to address the following:

  • Methods and particular criteria to identify illegal calls and differentiate lawful, high-volume callers from illegal callers, and any additional steps providers should take to ensure accuracy in blocking calls, including test calls and checks to other providers on illegal callers. It also seeks comment on the associated risks and delays resulting from additional identification steps.
  • How providers could use these criteria to prevent illegal calls from reaching consumers, specifically what actions providers are currently taking and whether there are any other methods voice service providers use to protect callers aside from blocking. It also seeks comment on third-party applications offering call blocking or labeling, and on the extent to which providers include access to these services and how these services could be used without consumer consent.
  • Efforts on industry traceback and how the FCC is facilitating these efforts, and any other actions the FCC could take to facilitate traceback and coordinate efforts with multiple providers or entities.
  • Solutions to reducing the potential for false positives and how to address and quickly resolve false positive situations. The Notice also seeks comment on “white lists,” which could allow calling parties to provide numbers to voice service providers to avoid calls being blocked or otherwise adversely impacted, and how a white list could be implemented or limited, perhaps by provider-specific lists or lists limited to emergency calls. Additionally, the Bureau asks how providers should respond to complaints of blocked lawful calls and efforts lawful callers could take to resolve the blocking.

Comments are due September 24, 2018.

Reply comments are due October 8, 2018.

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