Blumenthal Calls Out FCC on Robocalls

Sen. Richard Blumenthal
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) (Image credit: U.S. Senate)

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is publicly pushing the FCC to do more to combat robocalls and spam texts.

He issued a press release Friday urging action, pointing out that in July alone there were almost six billion robocalls and over seven billion spam texts, from those car warranty come-ons to COVID-19 tracing impersonators, his office said.

Blumenthal, chair of the Senate Consumer Protection Subcommittee, suggested the Federal Communications Commission needed to do more consumer protecting on that front.

He called on the FCC to “strengthen anti-robocall laws, require phone carriers to block illegal marketing, and bring enforcement action against those behind the schemes,” including by swiftly implementing the STIR/SHAKEN protocol, a set of federal authentication rules intended to week out unwanted robocalls.

The senator did praise “initial actions” taken by the FCC and signaled the problem definitely preceded the current acting FCC chair, Jessica Rosenworcel. “Years spent waiting is billions of dollars lost to fraud,” Blumenthal said.

Back in May, the FCC did vote unanimously to shorten the deadline for some smaller voice providers to use the STIR/SHAKEN caller ID regime.

And to the issue of unwanted texts, Blumenthal said: “I urge the FCC to use all of its authorities, including investigations, rulemaking, and enforcement, to address unwanted text messages, send a deterrent message to marketers, and identify technical solutions.”

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.