Robocalls are finally getting blocked

(phone ringing) – [Woman Robocaller]
Hello, this is a notice from AT&T Chinese– – So you’ve probably
gotten a call like this. These are most of the phone
calls I get at this point. And if someone tries to actually call me, I usually assume it’s a
robocall and don’t pick up. Consumer Reports estimated that Americans received 48 billion robocalls in 2018. There’s so many robots in the system that there’s no room left for humans. It’s a huge problem and a
huge regulatory failure, given how controlled the phone system is. But fixing that problem is
a lot harder than it looks. You only understand why, when
you look at the big picture. (electronic pulsing tones) So there’s sort of two
separate issues here. There’s a technological issue that created the problem and a legal issue that kept us from fixing it. But let’s start with the tech problem. Of course, no one was gonna
bother calling 10,000 people with a rotary phone routed by
human switchboard operators, just to find one person who would fall for their car insurance scam. Once you get into the 1960s you start to see autodialers which are physical machines that would run through
numbers automatically, and telemarketers became
a problem pretty quickly. But the closed nature of the phone system made it hard to mount a
full scale spam operation. The phone company
controlled the whole network from the switches to the phone numbers to the wires themselves. So if they really wanted to find you. there was nowhere you could hide. The important change for robocallers didn’t come from the hardware
but the network, itself, the actual physical material that was carrying the information. The original phone system
was built with copper wire, which is fine for voice calls. But when the internet happened suddenly most residential homes were using that same copper to
dial onto the internet. (dial tones pulsing) It was really slow, and
we only got faster speeds by laying new connections
with fiber optic cable. That’s the modern broadband
network we use today. Once they laid that fiber it was easier just to use fiber for everything, especially since the companies
selling you phone service were often the same companies selling you cable and internet. But that fiber didn’t get laid everywhere. So now you’ve got a strange
mash up of copper networks and fiber networks mixing phone traffic and internet traffic with lots of places to jump from one network to the other. The weird overlap of the two networks work like a border town. Anytime spammers got in
trouble on the phone system, they could switch back to
the internet and disappear. There were IP phone systems that could be hacked,
anonymous online call services and dozens of other
tricks that robocallers took full advantage of. The basic rule here is that if you’re on the internet you get spam. They are just as many spam emails as there are robocalls and they’re running a lot of the same scams. But we’ve gotten pretty good
at dealing with it in email. Those filters aren’t perfect
but they mostly work. So, why can’t we do that with robocalls. This is where the legal problem comes in. It turns out there’s a specific law that has stopped phone companies from treating robocalls like spam, passed before computers even existed. The Communications Act of 1934 was passed after the government realized that Bell Telephone was gonna be the only phone company in the country, and without some kind of regulation, there was nothing to stop them from jacking up prices
or manipulating service. So a law was written to
keep the company in line. In particular, the Communications
Act made it illegal to subject any particular person, class of persons or locality to any undue or unreasonable
prejudice or disadvantage. In other words, they had to
provide the same phone service to everyone at a fair price. (drum roll) So, that rule’s really important. Without that regulation the phone company could decide that every call to a certain town was gonna
count as long distance or refuse phone service to people if they thought they were gonna use them for something the company didn’t like. But carriers also took the rule to mean they had to deliver every call, even the ones that look sketchy. If they got it wrong and
blocked a real person, it could look an awful lot
like unreasonable prejudice. That meant that for years, the best you could do to fight robocalls was installing a third
party app on your phone. As long as carriers were
still delivering the call, they didn’t mind if an
app blocked it for you. But you still had to deal
with calls as they came in, some of the apps cost money and it was hard to tell the
good ones from the bad ones. This summer the FCC finally stepped in. On June 6, 2019 the Commission voted to affirm robocall blocking by default. Basically promising that
they wouldn’t sue carriers for blocking robocalls
before they’re delivered. Most carriers are
already offering services that will block the calls up front, although the options vary
from company to company, and sometimes you still have to opt in. Now it’s too early to say that we’ve solved the robocall problem. Carriers are actively blocking
calls now which is great, but it means robocallers
are getting more serious about evading the filters, which also means filters
have to get better just to keep pace. It’s a whole new arms race and
with the FCC out of the way, it’s just getting started. So, if you want a little more information about what you can do to get robocalls off your phone, my friend,
Jake, did a step-by-step guide of exactly what you
need to be looking for. Otherwise, thanks for watching!

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100 thoughts on “Robocalls are finally getting blocked

  1. I live in India, I opted for DND, I don't get any robo calls, but I do get few shady calls but from humans on the other end

  2. What do you mean it "took" That is past tense. They are not blocked yet. Maybe a few are, but I still get many per day on my personal and work phones; each.

  3. I am not aware of robocalls being a thing in Europe, neither I nor any of my friends/family never got a robocall, we very rarely get a telemarketing call but that's it.

  4. I have the "Silence Unknown Callers" feature enable on my iPhone. I only use my phone for personal use so I don't really worry about missing a legit call from an unknown number. They can just leave a voicemail. But omg… my life is so much better with this feature. I was receiving about 5-7 calls everyday from robocallers. It was madness.

  5. A month or two ago I was getting up to 5 calls a day from Russia, Africa and South America. I stopped answering and they stopped calling. Useless trashbags…

  6. The spammers are a bunch of tools and they will provide the perfect excuse for less phone neutrality so it will end up toothless like net neutrality, lobbyists have done exceptionally effective job in basically handing the FCC over to the phone companys on a silver platter.

  7. The iPhone ringtone at the beginning just gave me a heart attack
    Am I the only one who slips into an existential crisis, when they hear the phone ring?

  8. I don't really get how robocalls can exist in the first place. Do the people who own robocall numbers pay for that number every month with their name and SSI on record? If they are can't they just be banned from the system?

  9. It's so weird reading and watching all this stuff from Europe. We simply don't have robocalls, I literally never got one. The only thing I get maybe once every three years are human telemarketers or someone conducting a phone study. That's it. So it seems like this is one of those many problems that can be avoided without much trouble… if the US just got it together.

  10. I don't care about the answer, it shouldn't take that long no matter what the answer is, that's against a human rights, but not the human rights we are familiar with, but the human rights of human dignity and human decency.

  11. Just answer them once and tell them you work for the FCC. They’ll remove your number from all their future lists. Or do what I do and waste their time whenever they call you. I used to get 5 calls a day from them but now I’ll be lucky to get 1 a week.

  12. I work in an escalations department for a large corporation and these blocks are actually preventing me from resolving many complaints

  13. I'm pretty confused… My pixel 3 has been blocking spam calls for a while now. Without a third party app. All I get is a text message saying I missed a call when my phone didn't even ring.

  14. The "dislikes" are the actual spammers pissed about this information. Or possibly the dislikes are the people who don't get spam calls and want it to fill in their loneliness.

  15. I suggest public executions. Make the punishment so horrendous that no one would ever want to work for the robo-call company. Offer huge rewards for informing if you think you are working for a robo-call company.

  16. I’m feeling very lucky I don’t get these calls, because Canada 🇨🇦 apparently does have a robocall issue. Not sure why I don’t get them… I do have my iPhone set to silence unknown callers just in case.

  17. 3:!2 Communications Act – we need this 'Equal Service to Everyone' Protection Law for the Whole Internet.
    As long as they are not committing violent crimes / planning real world crimes / Everyone needs Equal access.
    All parties, politics, religions, conservatives, liberals, patriots, communists, vegans and BBQ burger chiefs -= equality for all.
    (but not SPAMMERS / Advertising / RoboCallers. Just Equal access for humans )

  18. IMO phone companies allowed this to happen in order to sell their SpamBlocker app subscriptions. Cause the problem & sell the solution, am I right?!

  19. Google screening is the best way to get rid of them. I don't have to hear them and they hang up once they realize a machine is talking to a machine. And the number of spam calls has gone way down once I started screening them.

  20. If you’re with AT&T I highly recommend downloading Call Protect. It’s free and lets you know when you’re receiving spam/telemarketer calls.

  21. The verge is owned by Verizon. Which may explain why they didn't explain very well how easily the phone companies could stop this nonsense. Of course they make money off of it as it is now, so The phone companies don't

  22. They're getting "blocked" because the phone companies wanna have us pay added money for their spam blocker software. They aren't ever going to go away, I just tell them I'm dead and to not call me anymore.

  23. People in the comments saying: i DidNt gEt aNy CaLLs, like the man didn't specifically say 'Americans' within the first 20 seconds of the video.

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