PhotoJust about everybody would like to get rid of robocallers and telemarketers, but it's not as easy as it should be. For years, it was thought that Federal Comunications Commission rules required telecom companies to attempt to complete all calls.

But the FCC has recently declared that's not the case, and, in fact, it is encouraging carriers and developers to come up with ways of identifying and blocking unwanted calls.

Today, the FCC says it will soon release consumer complaint data that will help developers come up with "do-not-disturb" technologies to block or filter unwanted calls and texts. 

The data, including originating phone numbers of telemarketers and automated robocalls, will be released and available on the FCC’s Consumer Help Center’s website.

“Consumers want and deserve effective tools to empower them to choose the calls and texts they receive.  This data will help improve do-not-disturb technologies so they can provide the best service for consumers,” said Alison Kutler, chief of the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, which manages consumer complaints. 

“As we encourage providers to offer these services, and as the Commission recently made clear that there are no legal barriers to doing so, we continue to look for ways to help facilitate important consumer tools.”

Green light

In June, the Commission gave the green light for do-not-disturb technologies, clarifying that there are no legal barriers to service providers offering robocall-blocking technologies to consumers. While such services are available today as apps on some smartphones and on VoIP phone systems, work is still underway for many carriers and third-party providers to offer consumers these tools on traditional landline networks.

Complaints about unwanted calls and texts are by far the largest complaint category to the agency, with over 215,000 complaints last year, so there should be no shortage of numbers to work with.

This data is similar to that released periodically by the Federal Trade Commission as part of its Do Not Call program. “Do Not Disturb” technologies use this information to determine what numbers might be originating unwanted calls. 

The data is available here.

For more information on the tools available to consumers in combatting unwanted calls and texts, the Commission has a consumer guide.

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