The FCC is set to introduce a new database that all voice providers must use so that the agency can track their efforts to prevent robocalls. From September 28th of 2021, phone companies must block incoming traffic from those outside of the Robocall Mitigation Database. If a company adopts STIR/SHAKEN, a protocol that lets carriers verify caller IDs before a call goes through, they have to file detailed reports on their efforts to implementing the technology.
“Protecting consumers from scammers that use robocall and spoofing tools is a top priority,” said Acting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel. “To succeed, we not only need an all-hands-on-deck response from government, but we need industry commitment and focus. Our message to providers is clear: certify under penalty of perjury the steps you are taking to stop illegal robocalls, or we will block your calls.”
It’s unclear how the FCC plans to validate reports in the database, or what consequences companies could face if they don’t use it – outside of having calls blocked. Most phone carriers and providers have until June 30th to adopt STIR/SHAKEN. The FCC gave smaller companies limited extensions on adopting the technology in September. The database effectively lets the FCC track compliance.
Sometimes it feels like the public and FCC alike are in a losing battle against spam callers, but this step is one of several towards a brighter future. The FCC recently issued the largest fine in its history, fining two Texan telemarketers $225 million for conducting roughly 1 billion robocalls. Rosenworcel also implemented a Robocall Response Team to create new initiatives and guide policymaking on dealing with spam callers.