COLUMBIA, SC — South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has joined a bipartisan, public/private coalition of 51 attorneys general and 12 phone companies with the goal of fighting illegal robocalls.
The announcement was made Thursday afternoon. As a result of the coalition, AG Wilson says phone companies have already agreed to adopt eight principles that will help protect customers from illegal robocalls and make it easier for violators to be investigated and prosecuted by the attorneys’ general office.
“Robocalls are frustrating for all of us because we all get them, and to make that frustration worse it’s very difficult for us to do anything about them at the state level,” Attorney General Wilson says. “This agreement should make a difference that will help us all because it all involves all 50 states and DC and the major cell phone companies.”
The new principles include:
Working to prevent illegal robocalls by:
- Implementing call-blocking technology at the network level at no cost to customers.
- Making available to customers additional, free, easy-to-use call blocking and labeling tools.
- Implementing technology to authenticate that callers are coming from a valid source.
- Monitoring their networks for robocall traffic.
Assisting attorneys’ general anti-robocall enforcement by:
- Knowing who their customers are so bad actors can be identified and investigated.
- Investigating and taking action against suspicious callers – including notifying law enforcement and state attorneys general.
- Working with law enforcement, including state attorneys general, to trace the origins of illegal robocalls.
- Requiring telephone companies with which they contract to cooperate in traceback identification.
“The principles offer a comprehensive set of best practices that recognizes that no single action or technology is sufficient to curb the scourge of illegal and unwanted robocalls,” says Levi Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Columbia University Henning Schulzrinne. “I hope that all parts of the telecommunication industry, both large and small, will commit to rapidly implementing these principles and work with state and federal authorities to make people want to answer their phone again without fear of being defrauded or annoyed.”
The coalition of attorneys general is led by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, New Hampshire AG Gordon McDonald and Indiana AG Curtis Hill. The coalition also includes attorneys general from all 50 states and Washinton, DC.
Companies participating in the coalition include AT&T, Bandwith, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon and Windstream.