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FCC chief wants to stop call spoofing

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Chairman Ajit Pai is taking steps to curb some types of robocalls, a constant target of ire from lawmakers, regulators and consumers.

Proposal details:

  • Pai is proposing rules that would let phone carriers block numbers in certain instances of "spoofing," or making erroneous information appear on caller ID, for a robocalls.
  • He will also ask for comments on issues like blocking spoofed calls from overseas numbers and how the agency can work to make sure that legal calls aren't being blocked.
  • "Scammers and spammers use spoofing to disguise their identity, to trick consumers into answering unwanted calls, and to hide from authorities," Pai said in a blog post. "And under the FCC's current rules, which generally prevent call-blocking, there is not much that carriers can do to stop this."

Worth noting: The meat of the proposal is a notice of proposed rulemaking, which means that the commission would need to vote again after the public comments on it to actually implement the proposed rules.

Background: The telephone industry, led by AT&T, worked on solutions to the robocall problem in a task force convened by the FCC last year. But blocking unwanted calls while allowing legitimate calls to go through is complicated to address both legally and technologically.