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FTC Rules Outlawing Robocalls Go Into Effect Next Week

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the not-a-moment-too-soon dept.

Communications 277

coondoggie writes "Nearly a year after announcing the plan, new Federal Trade Commission rules prohibiting most robocalls are set to take effect Tuesday, Sept. 1. With the rules, prerecorded commercial telemarketing robocalls will be prohibited, unless the telemarketer has obtained permission in writing from consumers who want to receive such calls. Hopefully the rules will go a long way to helping consumers eat dinner in peace without being interrupted by amazingly annoying telemarketer blather or in this case prerecorded blather. The requirement is part of amendments to the agency's Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) that were announced a year ago. After September 1, sellers and telemarketers who transmit prerecorded messages to consumers who have not agreed in writing to accept such messages will face penalties of up to $16,000 per call."

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Political robocalls too? (5, Insightful)

patmandu (247443) | about 5 years ago | (#29226323)

...or did they make sure to keep that loophole in there for themselves again...

Re:Political robocalls too? (5, Informative)

Evan Charlton (1498823) | about 5 years ago | (#29226351)

No, they left that in. FTFA:

However for those who have called on the FTC to help eliminate the other phone scourge - political robocalls - the new rules will not help. Calls from political campaigns are considered protected speech the FTC said. Ultimately consumers may get some help from state legislatures as many are regulating or looking to pass laws for more control over automated or robocall computer-generated phone-calling campaigns. One group, the National Political Do Not Contact Registry [stoppoliticalcalls.org] is campaigning to outlaw political robocalling altogether.

Thats actually pretty funny... (4, Insightful)

msimm (580077) | about 5 years ago | (#29226643)

Calls from political campaigns are considered protected speech

But who knew we'd already granted computers rights?!!

Re:Political robocalls too? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226357)

They left the loophole open. "Call from political candidates are considered protected speech". Really, what did you expect?

Re:Political robocalls too? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226597)

Sure, this benefits them, but lawmakers have no choice. It's an obvious application of the First Amendment. No court would uphold the law without this "loophole".

Re:Political robocalls too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226681)

How can you claim free speech when a robocall is not made by a human being at all?

If they want free speech then get a human to make the calls. That's what all those campaign volunteers are for!

Re:Political robocalls too? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#29226985)

How can you claim "free press" if the press is computer driven? Obviously only people using 18th century printing technology should enjoy freedom of the press...

Robocalls from "Americans United for Jesus and Kittens and Hey Did You Know My Opponent Loves Pedophiles?" annoy me; but trying to weasel-word your way around freedom of speech(freedom of explicitly political speech, no less) based on technological quibbling is Bad Idea.

"Sure, you have the right to speak, go ahead. However, I don't remember any 'right to have a packet encoded representation of speech make it to the other end of the wire' in the constitution..." "Sorry citizen, freedom of the press applies only to impact printed documents, don't you know what 'press' means? Inkjet or laser printed subversive literature will get you 20 to life..."

Re:Political robocalls too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226999)

So if someone chooses to automate their speech, it is no longer protected?

Seems like that would mean only live music and theater are protected. Any recordings or renderings of such would not be.

Re:Political robocalls too? (5, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 5 years ago | (#29226769)

They left the loophole open. "Call from political candidates are considered protected speech". Really, what did you expect?

system is broken. time for overhaul.

free speech is when I ask you a question and you are allowed to answer and not fear for your life.

free speech is NOT the right to call me and force some stupid idea down my throat.

there IS a difference and its not subtle, either.

in no reasoning person's mind could a robocall, or ANY kind of political call, be called 'protected'.

if that's protected, I should be able to call a judge on his personal phone line and complain about his judgements. call my congresscritters on their personal lines and complain and 'sell' them on my way of doing things.

they want access to us? give us parity and we'll talk. so to speak.

no? not going to work that way?

time to redo the system. maybe from scratch, if that's what it takes.

Re:Political robocalls too? (5, Insightful)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 5 years ago | (#29226947)

Don't be embarrassed for not getting politics shoved down your throat. You can hang up on a robot, and they wouldn't even know.

I think this is the wrong way to go about this. They should require every line used for marketing calls to show up on caller ID as "Marketing", and every call for political reasons to show up as "Political". Then people don't have to answer at all. You can add in a registry to keep people from calling, or you can require phone companies to block numbers with that name on the ID to a given number if you really want. The phone company idea would be my preference, as it's really easy to block numbers on our AT&T wireless lines on the net, and there should be no reason you can't do it on a land line just as easily.

Re:Political robocalls too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226949)

Quote: "free speech is when I ask you a question and you are allowed to answer and not fear for your life."

It is not even that, since no question is needed....it is that you are allowed to say whatever you like (barring the odd edge case like shouting fire" in a public place without fear, or for that matter, in a private place with the permission of the owner.

So I can stand on a street corner and try to convince you about the FSM, and so long as I don't cause a nuisance or obstruction, be left alone. On private premises however....well, I can talk with my friends in a bar and expect to be left alone, but if I try to address the whole establishment, the bar tender would be well within his rights to toss the bum out. That is not a freedom of speech issue, it is a "my place, my rules" issue.

So those politicians would by common custom be within their rights to walk up to my house and knock on the door and ask to talk to me...I don't have to allow them to say anything. Of course, if they started knocking every five minutes it would be harrassment and would certainly attract legal attention.

Doing it over the phone seems to me to much more readily become harrassment, and doing it with a robotic device...well it really makes me wonder about the people doing it. If I lived in a country with the number of firearms in circulation that the USA has, would I be game to harass people with an automatic calling system??? Would I hell. I wonder when we will hear of the first political assassination caused by someone being driven nuts by these calls, and I wonder if the jury will let the poor bastard off on the grounds of justifiable homicide???

Re:Political robocalls too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226957)

you can call a judge or a congressperson and do that, you just have to get their phone number.

Though just as you don't have to listen to a robocall, they don't have to listen to you.

Re:Political robocalls too? (2, Interesting)

Jay Clay (971209) | about 5 years ago | (#29226973)

"if that's protected, I should be able to call a judge on his personal phone line and complain about his judgements. call my congresscritters on their personal lines and complain and 'sell' them on my way of doing things."

Assuming you have the number, you can. There are ramifications if it's threatening or if they ask you to stop and you still do it - just like these other scenarios should - but there aren't any laws against it (AFAIK - someone may correct me on that).

Now the reverse - do you think you should be *prevented* from talking about these things to judges and members of the congress? Just on the phone? What? The issue with free speech, and any freedoms for that matter, is that it has to be protected for the jerks that abuse it, because taking away freedoms starts there (paraphrasing some quote).

Re:Political robocalls too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226655)

Nope.

The fact that harassment is harassment, whether it's commercially or politically motivated, hasn't gotten out of committee.

Re:Political robocalls too? (0)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 5 years ago | (#29226805)

It's a non-issue. If people care that deeply about it, they won't vote for a candidate that uses robocalls. If both major canidates use robocalls, people desperate for a third option will find one.

Re:Political robocalls too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29227223)

Vote Libertarian!!!!

Can I have the # for... (2, Funny)

SeeSp0tRun (1270464) | about 5 years ago | (#29226349)

The person I should call when my dinner is interrupted by another call? I bet their voicemail is slashdotted the first day.

Won't matter (4, Insightful)

RedMage (136286) | about 5 years ago | (#29226383)

For the most annoying types (scams mostly) this won't matter any. There's already a "Do not call" mechanism that's ignored. The legitimate ones will obey, the rest will just continue on.
Yes, it gives some teeth for when you actually catch them, but for the millions of us who have been getting the "Your credit rating will be affected!!!" calls lately, I doubt it will make any difference to our evening meals.

Re:Won't matter (4, Interesting)

codeguy007 (179016) | about 5 years ago | (#29226419)

They just call from another country to get around the no call lists anyway so you're right.

Re:Won't matter (4, Interesting)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 5 years ago | (#29226831)

What's really funny is that it goes both ways too.

We have a Do Not Call register in Australia as well. You can sign up for it here: https://www.donotcall.gov.au/ [donotcall.gov.au]

When it was first introduced, telemarketing calls pretty much stopped dead. For a while. But after a while they started coming back. And funnily enough all the people on the other end had American accents now (or were pre-recorded Americans). And indeed I asked one of them once where he was located, and he said Texas.

Of course, the Australian Do Not Call register only applies to calls placed in Australia. So they got around it by setting up operations in the US and calling back to Australia. I imagine they use some form of VoIP for the international leg otherwise the phone bills would be obscene.

Re:Won't matter (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29227043)

You're correct. There are a few companies who will (http://www.openaccessmarketing.com/) do the telemarketing on the cheap. Not only will they call from the USA to Australia, but they'll also provide even cheaper telemarketing from the offices in Manila. All managed from the USA. However, the ACMA still control who is called by regulating the lists, and who has access to them. If the original contact list originated from within Australia, it falls under the ACMA. If that list contains numbers on their DNC list then the company can still be fined by the ACMA regardless of where the call originated from. Telstra very recently got into hot water for blindly ignoring the DNC list and were fined, even though the calls being made originated off-shore.

Re:Won't matter (2, Informative)

nulldaemon (926551) | about 5 years ago | (#29227153)

Well in Australia it's your responsibility that whomever you outsource your telemarketing to, whether they are located inside or outside Australia, do not call people on the DNC. It has to be in your contract with them or *you* will get hit with massive fines.

Re:Won't matter (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | about 5 years ago | (#29226435)

There's already a "Do not call" mechanism that's ignored.

Junk phone calls are just a small fraction of what they were before the list, I'm surprised how effective it has been. So, I'm all for closing remaining loopholes.

Do Not Call Has Worked Perfectely For Me (3, Informative)

MediaStreams (1461187) | about 5 years ago | (#29226687)

"There's already a "Do not call" mechanism that's ignored"

I haven't gotten a single call on my mail line since the day I put it on the Do Not Call List.

Recently I got another number and couldn't figure out why I was suddenly getting unsolicited calls. Then I remembered the DNC List and once again haven't gotten a single unwanted call.

Re:Do Not Call Has Worked Perfectely For Me (5, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 years ago | (#29226891)

I haven't gotten a single call on my mail line since the day I put it on the Do Not Call List.

Then you are amazingly lucky or keep your phone turned off most of the time. There was at least one outfit [ftc.gov] that was literally war dialing every single possible valid NANP number. They called police dispatchers, the White House, military bases, Congressional offices, etc, etc. I got at least three or four calls from them per month until the FTC shut them down.

They were a bunch of cocksuckers too. You'd challenge them on ANYTHING and they'd just hang up you. I gave up on trying to get removed from their "list" and tried to pretend to want to do business with them. They wanted a credit card and when I told them I didn't have one and wanted to mail them a check they gave me an "address" of "4321 Main St. Some Random City and Zipcode" and hung up on me.

Eventually I gave up on trying to figure out who they are and just started being incredibly nasty to them. I'd bust out the 'C' word if I wound up with a female caller and various racial epithets for the male callers. Most of them would hang up but a few of them got into shouting matches with me over how horrible it was to use such words. I'm not actually a racist or sexist but I figured it was the best way to piss someone off over the phone with a single word before they could hang up. Since they consumed my cell phone minutes and interrupted multiple dinners I figured it was only fair.

Re:Do Not Call Has Worked Perfectely For Me (4, Interesting)

bronney (638318) | about 5 years ago | (#29227005)

The best way is to make it matters legally. Give them your credit card number, the one you don't use often or just sign one up just for this. Let them charge it, then take it up to the card center and police and say you have a lead on someone using your credit card illegally. If it's no traceable, you can't prove enough to charge my card either. If it is, you get the fuckers.

ØÙØØ ØØØÙS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226763)

[banat-style.net]
 

font face="Times New

It is even worse than that.... (3, Informative)

mysteryvortex (854738) | about 5 years ago | (#29226785)

This appears to me that it will weaken the existing prohibition against this practice by providing the "in writing" loophole. Calling without a real person on the other end was already illegal except in limited circumstances due to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) [gpo.gov]

[...]
(1) Prohibitions

                It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States, or
        any person outside the United States if the recipient is within the
        United States--
[...]
                        (B) to initiate any telephone call to any residential
                telephone line using an artificial or prerecorded voice to
                deliver a message without the prior express consent of the
                called party, unless the call is initiated for emergency
                purposes or is exempted by rule or order by the Commission under
                paragraph (2)(B);
[...]

How much do you want to bet that consent to robo-calls will quickly be added to the boiler plate in all sorts of contracts as well as privacy policies and TOS notices.

If it doesn't show up in everybody's mail box as part of a change to their credit cards' privacy policies, that might actually surprise me.

-Mysteryvortex

Re:It is even worse than that.... (4, Interesting)

QuoteMstr (55051) | about 5 years ago | (#29226821)

For fuck's sake, a contract isn't an atomic sacred unit of holy marketology. It's just a piece of paper.

The problem is Common Law, which holds that a contract is almost as sacred a the Ten Commandments except in limited circumstances. Courts have long rules that many sorts of contract are invalid if one party is deceived. Long form contracts with surprisingly asymmetric benefits to the drafted of the contract are a relatively modern chapter in the long history of contracts design to deceive. In practice, nobody reads the fine print. Saying "well, people should" is counterproductive because you know in practice that very few people will. By that logic, you can reduce all law to "well, people really shouldn't hurt each other."

What matters is how the contract is commonly understood, not what it actually says. It's high time for contracts of adhesion [wikipedia.org] to be held to much stricter standards. Specifically,

  1. No requirement of a standard form contract not commonly understood to be part of a contract of that type is enforceable.
  2. What "commonly understood" means is to be constituted by an impartial poll of the issue in question

That means that if a cell phone company, for instance, claims that their contract allows them to give your number to telemarketers, that clause is unenforceable unless the writer of the contract can show, via an impartial third party poll, that common people understand the contract to permit that right.

Re:This will be interesting for me (1)

symbolic (11752) | about 5 years ago | (#29226787)

Over the past couple of years or so, I've gotten probably a few hundred robocalls from about five different sources. I await in anticipation to see if any of these drop off the radar as a result of the new law.

But... but... but... (5, Funny)

QuoteMstr (55051) | about 5 years ago | (#29226391)

Governmunt regulation is bad and socialist and communist and will make our children weak and effeminate. I know it's true because Ronald Raygun told me so. Why does the FTC hate America?

RON PAUL! RON PAUL! RON PAUL!

slow down (-1, Flamebait)

hxnwix (652290) | about 5 years ago | (#29226593)

Fox News has not programmed the righty slashdot majority to dislike this regulation.

Re:slow down (1, Insightful)

QuoteMstr (55051) | about 5 years ago | (#29226667)

What detractors against regulation miss is that their creed, if enacted, would also eliminate regulations that personally benefit them. It's just another aspect of the Right's extraordinary ability to convince otherwise-rational people to act against their own interests. Through careful stoking of innate fears via the media, the Right induces a pathology in approximately 33% [pollingreport.com] of the population.

Crap! The drugs are wearing off!

RON PAUL! RON PAUL! THE GOVERNMENT WILL KILL YOUR BABIES!

Re:slow down (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226793)

Huh?

OK... let me try... the Left induces a pathology in approximately 67%, no 53%, no 51%... [pollingreport.com] well, looking at that trend, with luck, only 33% on the other stupid extreme will be "pathological"... hopefully less...

Re:slow down (1, Insightful)

QuoteMstr (55051) | about 5 years ago | (#29226867)

Oh, fuck you. Obama's policies, if he can get undemocratic senate [newyorker.com] to pass them, would obviously benefit the common man. That his approval rating is falling is a refection of the skill of the satanic Republican provocateurs and not of any rational problem with his approach.

Definition of "in writing"? (3, Insightful)

CustomDesigned (250089) | about 5 years ago | (#29226399)

Presumably, "opt-in" counts as "in writing", and my library will continue to robocall to announce that my book on hold is available. But on the flip side, I can see all sorts of obscure checkboxes when you order online that enable robocalls should you not notice and check/uncheck them.

Re:Definition of "in writing"? (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about 5 years ago | (#29226441)

or accepting any form of EULA also counts as "opt-in" too, even if you didn't read the whole thing at all.

Re:Definition of "in writing"? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226445)

Exactly. I somehow highly doubt "in writing" means actually writing a physical letter, or even personally writing an email. It'll be more along the line of "you must accept the license agreement where the telemarketing clause is buried on page 281. Bonus points if those license agreements you "sign" make you expressly grant the right to the provider to extend your "consent" to third parties (which may then do the same), and where each party may modify the agreement at any time without notification, which you hereby agree to automatically accept.

Re:Definition of "in writing"? (2, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | about 5 years ago | (#29226915)

Presumably, "opt-in" counts as "in writing", and my library will continue to robocall to announce that my book on hold is available.

Since that is an entity you have a pre-existing relationship with, I don't think they'd be blocked anyway. Just like I'm sure you'll still receive automated collections calls from creditors you're past due with. They aren't telemarketers making cold calls.

Re:Definition of "in writing"? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226931)

I have a pre-existing relationship with your mother's vagina. And I'm not your sibling.

Unenforceable (4, Interesting)

pete6677 (681676) | about 5 years ago | (#29226407)

Scumbags who use robocalls don't care about laws or reputations. Most of the products they peddle are outright scams or at the very least a bad deal for customers.

The perpetrators will set up shop offshore and evade detection. This law, just like CAN-SPAM, will make no difference at all.

scumbags don't call me, but politicians do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226635)

Like I give a shit about Scarlett Johansson opinion on candidates or pending legislation

Re:scumbags don't call me, but politicians do (3, Insightful)

Bill Dimm (463823) | about 5 years ago | (#29226709)

scumbags don't call me, but politicians do

You contradict yourself.

Re:scumbags don't call me, but politicians do (4, Funny)

QuoteMstr (55051) | about 5 years ago | (#29226729)

scumbags don't call me, but politicians do

You contradict yourself.

No, you do. A "scumbag" is a failed sociopath. We call the successful ones "CEO", "Hedge Fund Manager", and "Sir".

Re:scumbags don't call me, but politicians do (3, Funny)

libkarl2 (1010619) | about 5 years ago | (#29226955)

scumbags don't call me, but politicians do

You contradict yourself.

No, you do. A "scumbag" is a failed sociopath. We call the successful ones "CEO", "Hedge Fund Manager", and "Sir".

TRIPLE KILL!!!

Re:Unenforceable (2, Insightful)

quarterbuck (1268694) | about 5 years ago | (#29227145)

Which is why I think the best way would be to go after the product being peddled rather than the company making the call. The same would work for spam too.
Make a law that says that any product company advertised through spam/robocalls will be investigated and if found in violation of spam/call rules will be fined. That'll stop the contracting out of spamming duties to offshore/multiple shell companies.

Re:Unenforceable (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | about 5 years ago | (#29227155)

Which is why I think the best way would be to go after the product being peddled rather than the company making the call.

Joe Jobs [wikipedia.org] .

loopholes (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226413)

The problem is that any language they put in the bill to protect mass "information only" calls, can also be used as justification by clever spammers. "But we weren't trying to sell anything... we are trying to educate prequalified members of the public on this issue, and were merely pointing them to our web site filled with articles from experts and offer them the opportunity to join our community of interested citizens absolutely free of charge."

So.. what's the going rate for a callcenter in... (3, Interesting)

Animaether (411575) | about 5 years ago | (#29226437)

So.. what's the going rate for a callcenter in... well, what's the cheapest place nowadays?

Paying somebody to call a bunch of numbers, regurgitate a preconceived message, then transfer to the appropriate office if the called person takes the bait... can't be all -that- expensive* and circumvents the 'pre-recorded' bit of a 'robocall', right?

If -only- that bit is what is ruled against, then an automated dialer can still at least only transfer those who answer the phone to the poor sod with the aforementioned job, too.

Surely a loophole can't be that big?

* more expensive than a completely automated dealie, of course, but the above is, I presume, the way they did this -before- such technology was available..

Re:So.. what's the going rate for a callcenter in. (1)

codeguy007 (179016) | about 5 years ago | (#29226663)

If they already have a call center in the cheapest place, I can guarrantee they don't care about the pre-recorded law as they aren't in the US.

Re:So.. what's the going rate for a callcenter in. (1)

jesser (77961) | about 5 years ago | (#29226693)

Yeah, this strikes me as a roundabout way to make telemarketing calls more expensive. Why not tax them instead, whether they're pre-recorded or not?

Re:So.. what's the going rate for a callcenter in. (2, Interesting)

QuoteMstr (55051) | about 5 years ago | (#29226703)

Because we only adopt "market-based" solutions when they benefit the existing oligarchs. Putting a fair price on a shared resource in order to establish an efficient market is SOCIALIST AND THEREFORE EVIL.

Re:So.. what's the going rate for a callcenter in. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226899)

We'll be taxing them starting on Tuesday, at $16,000 per call

Hrmm (4, Funny)

acehole (174372) | about 5 years ago | (#29226457)

Happy Dude is not going to be happy.

Re:Hrmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226841)

Smiling Bob

is there still a so-called non-profit loophole? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 5 years ago | (#29226467)

in fact, the last 3 or 4 days (strange coincidence) I've been getting calls that ID themselves as 'sbc messaging' (calif). my answering machine (real actual one, not a phone-company service) picks up and takes their message. I get home and play back the recordings and they are *just* "we're sorry.". and that's all they say!

wtf?

really. wtf? what purpose is that? chew up my 'tape' space? (no I'm not literally tape-based, just a figure of speech, y'know).

so, I try calling back since they did leave an actual # in the caller-id. when 'they' answer, its still a recording and says something like 'this is a non-profit; we are exempt from the no-call list'. again, WTF!! they go on to say they are selling (!) tickets to some event for $40 and its non-profit (again, with this loophole thing).

I leave them 'a message' alright. I will continue to chew up their time and disk space like they are wasting mine.

or, in fact, I'm working on a hardware hack that will use caller-id and MY BLACKLIST and simply just not pick up the phone (disconnect the ans. mach. from the phone jack via a relay) if the caller-id name is that stupid 'sbc messaging'. no good ever came from calls that ID themselves with that string (seriously). I want to black list them and that name, but I don't think you *can* via any simple 'phone company' way. isn't the phone company 'in on it', so to speak? they are allowing their phone network to be abused like this and they *sell* phone service to these scumbags. they're *happy* to take their money.

there simply is no purpose in calling me and then leaving a no-op of a phone message.

something needs to be done. if need be, at the hardware (local) level. but something needs to be done.

Re:is there still a so-called non-profit loophole? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226607)

I use a popular VOIP phone service and I've actually written software to run on my Linksys router that will do exactly what you want. It can filter by caller ID string (such as "sbc messaging") using regular expressions for added flexibility or it can filter by phone number. Blacklisted callers go right to voice mail without the phone ever ringing. Anonymous callers who don't reveal their CID information are also blocked. You'd be amazed how many useless calls the regexp "toll *free.*" can eliminate. The ability to block incoming calls like this should be implemented with every phone service (preferably without having to hack or reverse engineer their session-layer protocols).

Re:is there still a so-called non-profit loophole? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 5 years ago | (#29226725)

yes, this should be actually part of a spec for 'usability'. you shouldn't have to hack at caller-id strings just to get phone privacy.

I do wonder; for those that call and you've programmed the middle-box not to even pass the calls thru (let it ring), do they eventually give up and assume 'no one's there'? or do they keep calling no matter what? just curious.

Re:is there still a so-called non-profit loophole? (2, Informative)

Greyfox (87712) | about 5 years ago | (#29227137)

You can do that with asterisk, if you don't mind leaving an asterisk server running all the time. You can set up a full voice menu system and I've never seen a unsolicited commercial caller get through one even as simple as "Press 1 if this is an marketing call, otherwise press 2". Asterisk can also work with caller ID and you can install black or white lists, however you want to do it.

It is kind of a pain in the ass to set up and you need some specialized hardware (FXO/FXS card or a SIP gateway such as the Linksis one you can get for $99) It's well worth it if you want to take control of your phone line, though.

Fine print (4, Informative)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 5 years ago | (#29226469)

With the rules, prerecorded commercial telemarketing robocalls will be prohibited, unless the telemarketer has obtained permission in writing from consumers who want to receive such calls.

Ah.

You can expect the "permission" to be buried in the fine print of phone contracts, software licenses, and the like. And be sure to remember to uncheck that "share your information with third parties" box.

Shit! (1)

swordgeek (112599) | about 5 years ago | (#29226477)

Well, thanks folks.

Those assholes with the robocallers are now going to phoning Canada with their scams, because it's out of jurisdiction. We saw it with the do not call list, and now...

Hell. I might just stop answering my phone entirely.

Re:Shit! (1)

tacarat (696339) | about 5 years ago | (#29226647)

Are you sure they're not just outsourcing? I hear Canadian robots are much cheaper to hire.

Re:Shit! (1)

Majik Sheff (930627) | about 5 years ago | (#29226735)

Not really, but they are quite a bit friendlier.

Re:Shit! (2, Insightful)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | about 5 years ago | (#29226977)

Hell. I might just stop answering my phone entirely.

You answer your phone? I answer my phone for my immediate family. Period. Everyone else who bothers calling get's my voice mail--and they know that. If I ever get a call from spam it goes on my spam list. If people want to get in touch with me, they need to learn how to use email. I simply don't get bothered any more.

Questions you may have: (Q) what if it is an emergency? (A) dial 9-1-1 for emergencies; (Q) but my land line doesn't have all those fancy features (A) turn off your land line ringer.

capcha time? (5, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 5 years ago | (#29226499)

I'm thinking it might be time.

something that ensures a human is at the other end, and a thinking one, at that. yeah.

phone spam is getting to the point where we need blacklists and whitelists. wildcards on names, numbers in caller-id. or even trapping on lack of caller-id.

arms race they want? we can meet that challenge.

but its a damned shame we've let ourselves get to this point ;(

Re:capcha time? (1)

Mr. Roadkill (731328) | about 5 years ago | (#29226801)

phone spam is getting to the point where we need blacklists and whitelists.

Like this [phonespamfilter.com] ?

Re:capcha time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29227007)

phone spam is getting to the point where we need blacklists and whitelists. wildcards on names, numbers in caller-id. or even trapping on lack of caller-id.

arms race they want? we can meet that challenge.

and you can start by putting this three-note beep [payphone-directory.org] on your answering machine; before whatever other message you record...should fuck over the robodiallers

Contest Entry - acceptance of call (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226509)

Every online or paper contest you ever enter from now on will include the small print "By entering this contest you consent to being placed on a call list".

The people running the contest will then get to sell your contact info and consent to be robo-called.

Canada (2, Insightful)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 5 years ago | (#29226525)

Most of the robo calls (all scams) that I get in Canada come from the US. I hope that this is not allowed. Also will they just move to India or whatnot and phone North America? The best place to block these calls is at the Telco level. Have people dial a code when crap calls come in. Then after a handful of crap calls are noted the number is blocked for all people who opt into this system for all users of the Telco. This would not only block scams and whatnot but it would block all numbers that other people have indicated are obnoxious as all DNC lists seem to exclude political and charity calling. I don't want anyone calling me who isn't a friend or family. I didn't get the phone for any one else to phone me so any telco that will block all crap calls will win my business.

All animals are equal... (1)

Morris Thorpe (762715) | about 5 years ago | (#29226535)

it's only that some are more equal than others:

However for those who have called on the FTC to help eliminate the other phone scourge - political robocalls - the new rules will not help. Calls from political campaigns are considered protected speech the FTC said.

Re:All animals are equal... (-1, Flamebait)

QuoteMstr (55051) | about 5 years ago | (#29226689)

It's a handicap for the Right. Without robocall campaigns [burntorangereport.com] to catapulpt the propaganda [about.com] , how are the Republicans supposed to have a fighting chance? For the sake of good sportsmanship, it's only fair that they be allowed.

Great (1)

Rog-Mahal (1164607) | about 5 years ago | (#29226539)

Next they can ban those annoying spam text messages.

Robomail (1)

zlel (736107) | about 5 years ago | (#29226553)

I don't ask for much. I just want $16 per spam mail.

Robocalls are worse than unsolicited email (3, Insightful)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 5 years ago | (#29226565)

I'd rather get 10 spam messages than one phone call. The phone call distracts me from my day to day activities, while email is a mode I put myself to check. I'm glad they're outlawing robocalls.

Our robocalls are in Spanish (4, Funny)

HangingChad (677530) | about 5 years ago | (#29226579)

That wouldn't be so bad, except no one here speaks Spanish. So I have no idea if it's a bill collector, a telemarkter, or a candidate running for office in a Spanish speaking area.

All the Spanish I know is basically ordering a beer and asking for directions to the bathroom, so I know they're not selling Dos Equis or directions to the toilet.

Re:Our robocalls are in Spanish (1)

Kozz (7764) | about 5 years ago | (#29226937)

.

All the Spanish I know is basically ordering a beer ...

"El queso está viejo y pútrido. Dónde está el sanitario?" [/obscure]

Re:Our robocalls are in Spanish (1)

acehole (174372) | about 5 years ago | (#29226997)

...or an area wide zombie alert.

Skynet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226589)

What, no skynet tag? What's wrong with you /.?

If robocalls are outlawed... (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | about 5 years ago | (#29226631)

Only outlaws will use robocalls!!!

Penalities (2, Insightful)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 5 years ago | (#29226701)

I wouldn't consider paying a fine (in this case, $16K/incident) to be much of a punishment. Sure, the robocaller stops bothering me, but once the robocaller is fined the government keeps it all. Every time a robocaller calls me, I'm the one who is inconvenienced, so why don't I get anything for helping to bring one of these guys down? It seems to me that if I report the number and it gets successfully prosecuted, I should get a cut of the reward. You can take the $16K fine and split it up equally among the people who reported that same number, and everyone wins.

It will never happen that way, though.

Re:Penalities (2, Funny)

QuoteMstr (55051) | about 5 years ago | (#29226739)

once the robocaller is fined the government keeps it all.

Yes, but that's $16k you don't have to pay in taxes.

Re:Penalities (2, Insightful)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 5 years ago | (#29226765)

Yes, but that's $16k you don't have to pay in taxes.

Yes, but the FTC is already funded with tax money as part of the budget. The 16K is just free money to them. Do you really think they should get a $16k bonus per incident to do what they should be doing anyway? Robocallers have gotten more and more prevalent in recent years and no one does anything until it becomes a huge problem. It's not like they are funded entirely by penalties... if they were, they would come down hard on every robocaller they could find and there likely wouldn't be any robocallers left to bother anyone.

Re:Penalities (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | about 5 years ago | (#29226779)

Yes, but the FTC is already funded with tax money as part of the budget. The 16K is just free money to them. Do you really think they should get a $16k bonus per incident to do what they should be doing anyway?

So that's $16k more worth of FTCish activities they can do. I fail to see the problem. It's still redistributing wealth from those who irritate society to those who can benefit it.

Re:Penalities (1)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 5 years ago | (#29226799)

So that's $16k more worth of FTCish activities they can do.

Except there's no way to be sure of that. Knowing the government, The money would probably be skimmed off someplace else. It still doesn't do me any good.

Re:Penalities (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | about 5 years ago | (#29226829)

Huh? Either 1) the money goes to the FTC, and funds its activities, or 2) the money goes to the general fund, where it can offset taxes (or debt). Or are you claiming that money the government receives in fines is somehow specially vulnerable to embezzlement?

Or are you an idiot devoteé of Grover Norquist who believes that a dollar for the government is a dollar for evil?

Re:Penalities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29227235)

well, let's see. When's the last time you saw the government reduce taxes?

Is this trespassing? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226747)

Let me say this first: I'm an aussie and (thankfully) we don't have the issues that you guys seem to have in the U.S. with all these telemarketers.

Could not the whole telemarketing thing be put under a trespassing code, rather than a freedom of speech one? As far as I'm aware (which is not at all), you guys can put a sign on your front gate that says 'No Trespassing' which will stop any door-to-door salesmen. This of course doesn't stop someone standing at your front gate shouting slogans and the what-not.

However, if it could be done that your phone was an extension of your territorial rights of terrestial land, could not _any_ breach be regarded as trespassing?

2c

Overrulled by the telcos (1, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | about 5 years ago | (#29226753)

The government can make all the regs they want, the telcoes render then null and void. We already have plenty of rules against junk faxes, violating the do not call registery, outright scam calls, etc. Now what do you do when you get one? The ones you would want to make pay always either blank out the caller-id or put a totally bogus (I get a lot of 1-555-* myself) number into the field. So that means the telco would have to give you the identity of the caller. Obviously THEY know who it is, they have the billing records. But you would need a court order to pry that information from them. I have even tried calling them and saying the last call into my line was illegal, and if they couldn't give me the info could they report it to the FTC, law enforcement, anybody? on my behalf. Nope, customer records are private without a court order and the phone company isn't interested in policing customers who pay them a hell of a lot more then you do.

So good luck getting the spammers/scammers to actually pay any fines until they get notorious enough for the FTC to run a sting against one.

Re:Overrulled by the telcos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29226819)

you're so full of shit it's not funny and you got 200 freaks because you're a liar and an asshat and a bitch.

Re:Overrulled by the telcos (1)

e9th (652576) | about 5 years ago | (#29227093)

You need to talk to your friendly neighborhood telco. I'm oversimplifying a lot, but basically there are two types of caller id - one is CID, which is what you as a consumer can get, and which can be easily spoofed or blocked. The other is ANI, which you can't get unless you have an 800 number or are an e911 service. ANI can't be blocked, and is difficult to spoof.

Why the difference? Some call centers may use the same line to return calls for many different businesses, and may wish to set the CID appropriately so the callee will see the expected number/name instead of the center's generic number. Or some people (doctors returning calls, e.g.,) may wish to block their number.
Why can't you get ANI delivery at home? Ask your friendly neighborhood telco. Or you could pony up big bucks for an ISDN PRI/BRI setup.

But there's no technical reason you can't get real caller id.

Asterisk (1)

e9th (652576) | about 5 years ago | (#29226773)

Call me? If I know your number, cool. Else if you know the extension, either my permanent one for friends, or the throwaways I use for business purposes, cool. Else you had better be listening closely enough to hear the digit you must press to even leave a message.

VoIP and International calling (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 years ago | (#29226791)

With VoIP technologies and techniques, how long before people attempt to skirt the rules by operating outside of U.S. borders?

Re:VoIP and International calling (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 5 years ago | (#29226869)

I'd say about ... minus 10 years from now.

They've been doing that for aaaages.

senators still immune? (1)

v1 (525388) | about 5 years ago | (#29226975)

Last I looked, the senators took pains to draft into the bill that they themselves were exempt from the no-robocall rule for their political campaigns. (and my phone did ring off the hook with campaign robocalls in the last few elections too) Is this still the case?

Re:senators still immune? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 5 years ago | (#29227161)

You'd think using robocalls would be political suicide. If I were a politician I'd hire a robo-calling company claiming to be from the other side. I'm pretty sure that trick's been used before, too...

All I can say is... (1)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | about 5 years ago | (#29227101)

"Felicidades."

waranty expirations (1)

z_gringo (452163) | about 5 years ago | (#29227117)

Now who is doing to tell me when the warranty on a vehicle which I may or may not own is going to expire?

Re:waranty expirations (2, Insightful)

EEBaum (520514) | about 5 years ago | (#29227177)

Perhaps they'll attach a notice to the Bed Bath & Beyond 20% off coupon that arrives in the mail on days ending in "y".

Why not add robotexts to the Bill? (2)

DigitalStone (1502161) | about 5 years ago | (#29227187)

It seems like an obvious thing to add with todays level of technology. Although I have been registered on the do not call list for years, and that has not stopped many companies from interrupting my daily life with mortgage ads, and other unwanted sales pitches.

Has anyone else noticed? (1)

joocemann (1273720) | about 5 years ago | (#29227231)

... that there are seemingly a number of surprisingly 'good' things (for the people) coming out of our various federal departments recently?

I'm curious if this has to do with better appointments to tops, better pressures, coincidence, or maybe a seriously interesting change for the better in government....

I doubt the last one, lol.

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