States Vow to Hold Telco Carriers Responsible for Robocalls

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The Attorneys General of all 50 states and the District of Columbia (State AGs), led by Josh Stein, the Attorney General for the State of North Carolina, have announced that they have joined 12 major voice service providers in signing onto a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) wherein the carriers have pledged to work with the State AGs to incorporate eight anti-robocall “Principles” into their respective business practices. The cooperating voice service providers include AT&T, Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon, and Windstream. According to the news release, the carriers will work to prevent illegal robocalls by: (1) implementing call-blocking technology at the network level at no cost to customers; (2) making available to customers additional, free, easy-to-use call blocking and labeling tools; (3) implementing technology to authenticate that callers are coming from a valid source; and (4) monitoring their networks for robocall traffic. Additionally, the voice service providers will assist State AGs in enforcement by, among other things, investigating and taking action against suspicious callers (including notifying law enforcement and the State AGs) and tracing the origins of illegal robocalls. In February 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill aimed at stopping robocalls, while the U.S. Senate introduced a bipartisan anti-robocall bill a month earlier.

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