FCC intros new initiative to combat robocalls & protect users

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We’ve all been there — our phone rings, we answer, and an automated voice claims to be from a streaming service, car insurance provider, or another company, often with dubious intentions. These robocalls, aimed at defrauding or harming consumers, have become a constant annoyance in our lives. However, hope is on the horizon. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has introduced a new classification level called C-CIST, specifically targeting automated fraudsters in the robocall industry. This strategic upgrade is set to enhance the FCC’s ability to detect and block these malicious calls more effectively.

A new weapon against robocalls

The introduction of the C-CIST level marks a significant development in the FCC’s ongoing war against robocallers. This new system is not just a technological advancement but a declaration of intent: the FCC is intensifying its efforts to protect consumers from these illegal and often harmful calls. With the ability to quickly identify, block, and prevent repeat offenders from continuing their operations, the FCC is taking a proactive stance to safeguard our peace of mind and personal information.

A collaborative effort

The ongoing nature of robocallers has typically left regulatory bodies playing a frustrating game of whack-a-mole, where shutting down one operation only leads to another popping up. North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, founder of the state attorneys general Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force, expressed a collective sense of relief and determination. “We can’t keep playing whack-a-mole to shut down bad actors who keep creating new companies so they can spam us with robocalls. I’m grateful to the FCC for being a close partner in our efforts to put a stop to these nuisance calls,” Stein remarked. His gratitude underscores the collaborative effort required to tackle this pervasive issue.

Leveraging advanced technologies

The effectiveness of these scams has increased, with scammers now using advanced technologies like generative AI voice-cloning and ‘spoofing’ to cover up their identities and take advantage of unsuspecting individuals. Loyaan A. Egal, Chief of the Enforcement Bureau and Chair of the Privacy and Data Protection Task Force, expressed the importance of the new C-CIST classification in this ongoing battle. “As our search for targets use more and more sophisticated and clandestine means…the C-CIST classification tool allows us to better work together with our state, federal, and global regulatory and law enforcement partners to take on these bad actors,” Egal explained. He cited the recent announcement of Royal Tiger, a powerful robocall operation, as a prime example of how this new tool will help protect consumers and their privacy.

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