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President Trump signs anti-robocall TRACED Act into law

It could reduce (but not stop) the flood of spam calls.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
December 31, 2019
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AP Photo/Steven Senne

A key bill to curb the robocall scourge is now the law of the land. President Trump has signed the TRACED Act, toughening the punishments for illegal robocalls and accelerating telecoms' efforts to block spam. Fines for robocalls now reach up to $10,000 per illegal call (and don't require a warning), and carriers must implement call authentication (already in use) to help prevent spoofing. The FCC has work to do, too -- it'll have to set rules determining when networks can block calls, and to prevent unauthenticated calls and texts from reaching phone subscribers.

There are also self-review measures. Both the FCC and the Justice Department have to create a working group that will study enforcement of certain robocall bans, and report to Congress. Likewise, the FCC will have to examine its policies on number resources to see if it can reduce access to spammers.

This isn't likely to completely stop the deluge of robocalls. Perpetrators that are willing to use real numbers (including hijacked ones) or find clever software tricks might still get through, and some may be willing to take risks knowing that the payoff from successful scams could be high. And remember, this only applies to illegal calls. "Rachel from cardholder services" might not bug you, but your cable provider will with your permission. This is more about creating a barrier that could deter 'casual' spam calls.

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