FCC orders phone companies to help trace illegal robocallers

It's now also putting a limit on non-telemarketing robocalls.

golibo via Getty Images

The FCC has been adopting more and more measures to combat robocalls, and the latest set of rules (PDF) it’s implementing include limiting even non-telemarketing calls made to residential phones. Non-commercial, commercial and nonprofit organizations can now only make up to three calls per residential number within 30 days and are required to allow recipients to opt out. The FCC didn’t have a limit for non-telemarketing calls before this change. In addition, the commission has introduced (PDF) new rules for voice service providers, which are now required to respond to traceback requests for illegal call sources from the commission and from law enforcement.

They’re now also required to investigate illegal calls identified by the commission and to take steps to mitigate those calls if they come to the same conclusion. The FCC says carriers must “exercise due diligence in ensuring that their services are not used to originate illegal traffic,” as well. Aside from implementing those new rules, the FCC has expanded safe harbors for providers to eliminate legal liability for network-level call blocking. That said, providers must only target calls that “highly likely to be illegal, not simply unwanted” and must use human oversight.

In an effort to be more transparent, the FCC requires providers to notify callers if they’ve been blocked. Phone companies must also provide subscribers with a list of blocked calls upon request and provide a status update on call blocking disputes within 24 hours.