Dec 4, 2019

Bill to limit robocalls passes House by near-unanimous vote

Photo: Maciej Luczniewski/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A bill to crack down on robocalls passed in the House by a 417-3 vote on Wednesday, in a rare display of bipartisanship amid a divided Congress.

The big picture: The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act would combat robocalls by requiring phone providers to verify the source of calls and allowing users to block those sources for no additional cost. It would also strengthen the Federal Communications Commission's ability to order the Justice Department to organize a working group to ensure robocall violations are prosecuted, Politico notes.

  • The measure tackles so-called one-ring scams, wherein companies call an individual, but hang up after one ring in the hopes that consumers will be implored to call back.
  • Those callbacks often dump international calling fees on unsuspecting users.

Where it stands: Americans received more than 5 billion robocalls in November, and a record of 5.7 billion in October, according to YouMail.

What to watch: The bill will now head to the Senate, with hopes to deliver the proposal to President Trump by Christmas.

Go deeper: Where all the robocalls are coming from

Go deeper

Americans received a record number of robocalls in October

Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

People in the U.S. received more than 2,000 robocalls a second in October, CNBC reports. That's a record, and a 25% hike over September's numbers.

Be smart: Cell phone carriers are offering services to help consumers deal with the phenomenon. The number of robocalls has topped 49 billion this year, according to CNBC.

Go deeperArrowNov 16, 2019

Robocallers face fight on many fronts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Federal regulators, lawmakers, and private companies haven't found any one tool that on its own can stem the flood of robocalls, so they are trying several approaches at once.

The big picture: There were a record 5.7 billion robocalls in October, according to YouMail, and the Federal Communications Commission has singled out the issue as its top consumer complaint.

Go deeperArrowDec 13, 2019

Amazon details Ring's police ties

Ring security cameras. Photo: Glenn Chapman/AFP via Getty Images

In separate responses to congressional inquiries released Tuesday, Amazon disclosed the breadth of its Ring subsidiary's partnerships with local police departments, and admitted that it used sales data from third-party products to help decide which products to start selling under its own name.

Why it matters: Both disclosures will give fresh ammunition to the company's critics.

Go deeperArrowNov 20, 2019