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Radio News: Court ruling allows some cell phone robocalls

Mar 19, 2018 10:50 pm
Jon Brodkin reports for Ars Technica that a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down part of an anti-robocall rule March 16. The judges ruled that an unwanted call from a smartphone shouldn't violate anti-robocall rules if the user hasn't downloaded an autodialing app. The FCC won't appeal the decision to strike down part of the the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, because Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai opposed the rule change in 2015, when he was in the minority on the commission. With or without this part of the law, the scourge of robocalls has not slowed, even with consumers signing up on "Do Not Call" lists. The FCC has proposed a fine of $120 million for someone who allegedly made 96 million spoofed robocalls in a three-month period. "One thing is clear in the wake of today's court decision: robocalls will continue to increase unless the FCC does something about it," Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said. "That means that the same agency that had the audacity to take away your net neutrality rights is now on the hook for protecting you from the invasion of annoying robocalls. It's past time for the American public to get a serious response from the FCC—and a reprieve from the unrelenting nuisance these calls have become for so many of us." Pai claims he will work hard to stop the robocalls. "We will continue to pursue consumer-friendly policies on this issue, from reducing robocalls to reassigned numbers to call authentication to blocking illegal robocalls," he said. "And we'll maintain our strong approach to enforcement against spoofers and scammers, including the over $200 million in fines that we proposed last year."