Apple and Google join forces to defeat robocallers
Is there anybody there?
If you’ve ever been plagued by automated calls trying to get you to part with your hard-earned cash, a new initiative spearheaded by tech giants Apple and Google could be just what the doctor ordered.
In fact, more than 30 major tech companies are teaming up with the US government to form a ‘Robocall Strike Force’ to crack down on automated, prerecorded telephone calls.
AT&T Inc, Google parent Alphabet Inc, Apple Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Comcast Corp have already pledged to work with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and will deliver a report in October outlining their ‘plans to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions,’ according to group chair and AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson.
Raising the stakes
The group plans to introduce caller ID verification standards designed to help block calls from spoofed phone numbers and will also look at creating a ‘Do Not Originate’ list that would prevent spoofers from impersonating phone numbers from governments, banks or other businesses.
Robocalls often originate from telemarketers and, according to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, are consumers’ number one complaint. ‘The bad guys are beating the good guys with technology,’ he said.
Stephenson labelled robocallers a ‘formidable adversary, notoriously hard to stop’ and said that the initiative would require a response that amounted to more than one-off blocking apps. The FCC doesn’t currently require phone providers to offer robocall blocking and filtering, though it does strongly encourage them to do so at no extra charge to consumers.
Striking a blow for the consumer
The so-called strike force brings together carriers, device makers, operating system developers and network designers with the aim of developing a workable solution to what is a fairly complex spectrum of activity, from calls that may only constitute a nuisance, to those that are downright illegal.
‘We have to come out of this with a comprehensive play book for all of us to go execute,’ Stephenson said.
Other companies that are part of the initiative include British Telecommunications Plc, Microsoft Corp, Nokia Corp, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, T-Mobile US Inc and US Cellular Corp.
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