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May 14, 201910:40 AMInside Wisconsin

with Tom Still

Robocall relief may be coming, but it’s likely temporary and won’t be foolproof

(page 2 of 2)

The Wisconsin Legislature has also taken notice. State Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin, and State Sen. Dale Kooygenga, R-Brookfield, have introduced a bill aimed at preventing telemarketers from displaying a false phone number on the recipients’ caller ID — the trick known as “spoofing.” The bill would also prohibit telemarketers from blocking their caller ID information altogether.

In case you’re wondering, this is one national problem that can’t be blamed on President Trump … at least, not for the first 10 years. The phenomenon has been growing since 2006, with FCC and FTC misfires every few years after the first version of STIR/Shaken was unveiled to regulators.

Then again, it’s no guarantee that government intervention would have solved the problem then or now. Whether it’s federal or state actions, such measures assume robocallers will follow laws and regulations (unlikely, without sharp teeth) or not invent smarter technical work-arounds.

In the meantime, people can sign up for the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry or download apps such as RoboKiller, Verizon’s CallFilter, AT&T’s CallProtect, and T-Mobile’s NameID. Again, none of those solutions are perfect, but they can be better than nothing until a better protocol comes along.

Robocallers may be doing what the nation needs most: uniting people around a common scourge. It’s not climate change, the deficit, immigration, or trade, but maybe it’s a start.

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About This Blog

Tom Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal.

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