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Our Opinion: Can coalition curtail robocalls?

Our Opinion: Can coalition curtail robocalls?

December 16th, 2018 in Opinion

How many times this fall has your landline rung during the dinner hour, with the blaring, urgent message: “Hello, this is (name a politician/political party), and we need your vote this November!”?

Or how often do you ignore cell phone calls from unknown callers, taking the chance that you’re missing a legitimate call?

Robocalls, according to the New York Times, are surging. So are the scams that sometimes come with robocalls. Likewise, complaints to lawmakers and regulators are on the increase.

It’s not just politicians, but a wide variety of businesses — ranging from the legitimate to scam artists — that are making the calls an ever-present part of our lives.

So it makes sense Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has joined a bipartisan group of 40 state attorneys general to stop or reduce the repetitive, and potentially harmful, calls.

They plan to fight fire with fire, so to speak. Robocalls are a result of modern technology, and the plan is to use the technology major telecommunication companies are developing to fight illegal robocalls.

“Missourians complain regularly about repeated robocalls that interrupt their daily lives,” Hawley said in a story we published last week. “As a part of this group, my office is working to find ways to fight spoofing and other robocalls that are not prevented by the No-Call List.”

Hawley said the multistate group has had meetings with several major telecommunication companies since its formation. He said those meetings have led to greater information sharing about the technological capabilities currently in existence or in development to fight these calls.

The areas Hawley and his colleagues are working on include:

• Developing a detailed understanding of what is technologically feasible to minimize unwanted robocalls and illegal telemarketing.

• Engaging the major telecommunication companies to encourage them to expedite the best possible solutions for consumers.

• Determining whether states should make further recommendations to the FCC.

We encourage Hawley and his successor, Eric Schmitt, along with the other attorneys general, to pursue action that will give us all a break from these unwanted, automated calls.

Central Missouri Newspapers