Georgetown Computer Science Prof.: “Carriers could fix this overnight”
Public Policy Fellow
Phone companies are technologically capable of addressing the unwanted robocall problem – they just need a push from the outside.
Last week, the End Robocalls team spoke to Dr. Eric Burger, Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University. Dr. Burger is one of the engineers working with the Internet Engineering Task Force to stop spoofing on calls placed using Internet technology. He’s spending his free time working so that you’ll be able to trust your Caller ID!
Dr. Burger explains, “A lot of the issues around robocalls are not technology issues, they are money and policy issues.” While he cautions that it would be impossible to eliminate all unwanted robocalls, Dr. Burger argues that identity verification procedures would go a long way to stopping the robocall scammers. He notes that telecoms are capable of putting a major dent in the problem and could verify the identities of callers, but lack the will to do so.
Many of the illegal robocallers that are spamming consumers, like Rachel from Cardholder Services, obscure their identities using call spoofing. Spoofing has increased dramatically over the last decade, because Internet calling technology makes it easy to enter a fake number on Caller ID. These call spoofers often trick consumers into picking up by pretending to be from the local area code. Call spoofing also makes it difficult to track down the scammers.
Dr. Burger suggests that Congress or the FCC could intervene to require phone companies to verify callers’ identities – and hold them responsible with fines when they don’t.
We agree that companies should take steps to crack down on call spoofing to help stop illegal, scammy robocalls. But, we can’t wait for legislative or regulatory action. Call-blocking technology is available now to block robocalls, and you deserve free access to it. We’re fighting for those in the best position to stop the robocall problem – the phone companies — to provide free, effective tools to all consumers that will block unwanted robocalls before they get to you. Please sign our petition!