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Reverse Robocall Turns Tables On Politicians

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the who-spams-the-spammers dept.

Communications 252

jfruhlinger writes "One of the great banes of election season is that any politician can shell out a few pennies per voter and phone-spam thousands of people who'd rather not hear a recorded pitch. But turnabout's fair play, and now a service called reverse robocall will deliver your recorded message to elected officials as often as you'd like for a nominal fee. If there's a representative you'd like to call repeatedly, check them out."

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Excellent! (1, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285604)

Turnabout is fair play.

Re:Excellent! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38285710)

not quite the same..

this calls the politician's offices (which are staffed by people other than them)

they call your home and cell phones

Re:Excellent! (4, Interesting)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286368)

I'm pretty sure people other than the politician (you know their staff) are the ones who organize the robocalling in the first place. So that seems fair enough.

Re:Excellent! (1, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285740)

Turnabout is fair play.

Until the politiican adds you to the US government's kill file and a misile comes flying in your window.

Re:Excellent! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286412)

Whoever modded the above Flamebait is sadly, no, make that tragically out of touch with what is going on in the US today. The OP's statement is feasible based on just 2 items that came out of the government this week. Worst part? It would be legal!

The Obama government (whom I supported in 2008) is turning out to be one scary piece of work.

To the modder: please don't ever vote - your ignorance is a danger to the country.

Re:Excellent! (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285802)

In the end you'll never reach them, only the bottom of the bottom that is handling the phones. You're making that guys day miserable...

It'b be fun if they ended up doing the same to you and spamm your home phone because you spammed theirs :P

Re:Excellent! (4, Insightful)

morethanapapercert (749527) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286248)

simple solution for that, just set your phone to call forward to the politicians call centre! Done right, and with a bit of luck, you could take out multiple call agents (and trunk bandwidth with every call they make!

Re:Excellent! (5, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286478)

csb time: I had just added fancy dialing packages for call-forwarding, call-waiting, caller-id and some others (this was 10 or 15 yrs ago when that was still somewhat new). I wasn't used to all the star- number- number codes yet.

I was planning on having a phone interview and didn't want to be disturbed, so I disabled call-waiting for the duration of the call. I dialed the prefix, waited for beeps, then dialed the number for the company I was supposed to interview with. we had our little interview chat and we ended the call. that was that.

or so I thought.

a day or two goes by and my girlfriend (who gets all the calls; I never get phone calls) tells me that people have not been calling her lately. is something wrong with the phone? I go to check things out.

yes, it turns out, I had enabled call-forwarding for the duration of that call. and all calls! until explicitly disabled!

even worse, the poor guy at the company that I called: he was getting OUR phone calls! "who the hell is alison? why do people keep calling asking for alison?? I just don't understand it!". I can imagine that is what was going thru the poor guy's head.

I never did hear back from that company. not sure if they knew what was going on or not; but it was only enabled for a few days...

learned my lesson. make sure you press the right sequence and don't just assume you got *-something-something right.

Re:Excellent! (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285832)

Turnabout is fair play.

Or, it might get you into trouble.

The politicians who wrote the laws about such things game themselves an exemption to call you. It is entirely possible that if you turn around it do it to them, you could be doing something illegal.

Remember, the deck is stacked, and not in your favor.

Re:Excellent! (4, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285910)

I'd like to see a politician sue someone for robocalling them, see if that works out in their favor.

Re:Excellent! (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286024)

I'd like to see a politician sue someone for robocalling them, see if that works out in their favor.

They wrote the laws, gave themselves an exemption, and have better access to law enforcement and legal advice than you or I.

You're more than welcome to test your theory and see how it turns out.

I'm just pointing out that they've stacked the deck in their favor, and that if you or I did the same thing they'd probably find some other laws they can abuse to make us go away.

Me, I'd expect you'd get a visit from the local police or from a Federal Agency. Neither is likely to turn out like you might hope.

Re:Excellent! (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286246)

They wrote the laws, gave themselves an exemption, and have better access to law enforcement and legal advice than you or I.

While I agree that they have better access to legal advice, if you really did want to stick it to the man, your country still has courts that may stick to the letter of the law, but juries generally vote with common sense and a sense of justice. I would be very very surprised if the found someone guilty of robocalling the same candidate that robocalled them. If you filed for costs right at the start, you would likely get off free minus your time in court. The deck might be stacked in their favour, but a jury would likely even that out quick smart. Remember, that jury is probably getting the same annoying robocalls from the same politician.

If you really wanted to stick it to the man, make sure that it was taken to court and you won. Court rulings have a beautiful way of sticking around.

Re:Excellent! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286440)

Except that judges usually don't tell the ignorant masses which compose a jury about jury nullification, and if they do, they instruct the jury to follow the law and not allow sympathy towards a party to sway their decision. Further, one attorney or the other, or the court itself, depending on jurisdiction will weed out jury members who might be emotionally swayed, or have the intelligence to understand the concept behind jury nullification.

It's a great idea in theory, but in practice, people are usually too stupid, or biased, or whatever.

Re:Excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286068)

what you will see is Joe Six-pack fined an amount that is 10x Joe Six-pack's income while the politician that makes ~$200,000 will simply not get re-elected and will retire on his government pension. Yay, Joe! You reall stuck it to The Man!

Re:Excellent! (2)

morethanapapercert (749527) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286358)

good point, but in the citizens favour is the fact that he is one person, making repeated but solitary calls to a single number, and one that is one of the official lines of communication with his representative. (with recent events, it's hard to write that without laughing, as if the politician actually represented any of his electors!)

The politician, on the other hand, is making thousands of calls, to thousands of numbers. In many cases, they are calling a given individual more than once as they cycle through the landlines, business lines and cell numbers assigned within a geographic area.. Therein lies the basis .I'd like to see such laws challenged. Does the American telephone marketing law exemptions allow a politician to call people who can't vote for him because they live outside the district he represents? Does the exemption allow repeated calls to the same individual? Does it allow him to call businesses? (since the point of the calls is to "get out the vote" and businesses can't vote, if they are big enough, they don't need to vote, they control him anyway. If they aren't big enough, then they don't matter...)

I'm a Canadian, I have an Ontario area code, yet last year I and a few others with the same area code and exchange actually got a few calls from a NY politicians robocaller. I assume it was an error in setting up the dialer program, because only a bare handful of us got called (that I know of) before the calls stopped. Still, I'm sure it would have been mighty embarrassing if we had decided to pursue a class action against the guy in a US court.

Re:Excellent! (3, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285960)

Any reasonably competent lawyer could argue you out of any charges on this on first amendment grounds. Not primarily the freedom of speech part, although that enters in, but the "right of the people to...petition the government for redress of grievances" part.

Re:Excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286318)

Sadly, no. The 1st Amendment argument goes out the window when you use your delivery of speech to rob them of their service. Consider for example your message in the payload of an IMCP packet used to ping flood their website. You're denying them of their service.

Re:Excellent! (5, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285980)

The politicians who wrote the laws about such things game themselves an exemption to call you. It is entirely possible that if you turn around it do it to them, you could be doing something illegal.

They didn't just exempt themselves, they exempted political organisations [ftc.gov] - an organisation dedicated to delivering the grievances of the citizenry to politicians sounds like the very definition of a political organisation. But then again, I am not a lawyer or a politician.

Re:Excellent! (5, Interesting)

darkpixel2k (623900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286000)

Turnabout is fair play.

Or, it might get you into trouble.

The politicians who wrote the laws about such things game themselves an exemption to call you. It is entirely possible that if you turn around it do it to them, you could be doing something illegal.

Remember, the deck is stacked, and not in your favor.

Exactly.

I've had to run a few of the robocall systems, and I frequently asked questions about it all.

Me: Can we give them a 'press 1 to unsubscribe' option?
Them: No, otherwise everyone would unsubscribe.

Me: What should I do with incoming calls (when people hit *69)?
Them: Just drop the call.

Me: I thought robocalling was illegal?
Them: It is. We're exempt because there are special provisions in $STATE-TELEMARKETER-BILL that allow for political calls.

Me: Hmm. The bill says we must stop calling at 6 PM, otherwise it says were 'harassing' people and could be liable...
Them: Look further down--it says political calls are exempt and can be run until 9 PM. And also on Saturday as early as 9 AM.

I remember waaay back in 7th grade, a kid was trying to impress everyone on the playground by saying he could build a 'screamer' bomb. It was a special 'pulse' you could send down the phone line that would blow up computers at the other end. Untraceable too.

*sigh* Every 4 years I start wishing that kid was right... ;)

Re:Excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286632)

Get rid of the phone.

I don't know how it's in the US, but where I live mobile phones are considered personal and don't get listed in phone books. Thus, the only calls I get are from people who know me or the provider. Period. No spam of any kind.

I had a landline too, everyone has or had one, but it's actually cheaper here (eastern Europe) to own a mobile than a landline and they have better coverage.

Re:Excellent! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286708)

I don't know how it's in the US, but where I live mobile phones are considered personal and don't get listed in phone books.

In the United States, mobile phones are not listed in phone books. But not because they are considered "personal," but more because they were never listed to begin with and no one bothered to change it.

I had a landline too, everyone has or had one, but it's actually cheaper here (eastern Europe) to own a mobile than a landline and they have better coverage.

Let me use Massachusetts as an example: the cheapest landline from Verizon (the ILEC for all but two towns in Massachusetts) is Measured Rate Service. $12.70/mo plus $0.01 per call within your local calling area (typically your town and adjacent towns); inbound calls are unmetered. Reliability is largely dependent on the state of the outside plant.

I'm not aware of any mobile service that is cheaper, perhaps some pay-as-you-go plan?

The Measured Rate Service landline is very attractive, but the biggest turn-off is initial cost. Not so much the money as waiting around with my thumb up my ass because the technician is going to show up sometime between 9 am and 3 pm. Because of that initial inconvenience, I have shied away from getting it.

Re:Excellent! (0)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286032)

Turnabout is fair play.

Or, it might get you into trouble.

The politicians who wrote the laws about such things game themselves an exemption to call you. It is entirely possible that if you turn around it do it to them, you could be doing something illegal.

Remember, the deck is stacked, and not in your favor.

You have all thirteen clubs : Bid seven No Trump.

Re:Excellent! (1, Offtopic)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286180)

You have all thirteen clubs : Bid seven No Trump.

You'll never make it. The opponents lead. How are you ever going to get to your hand to play them? You can't. Seven clubs is your best (only) bid.

Slashdot. The home of stating incorrect opinions as fact.

Re:Excellent! (0)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286470)

You have all thirteen clubs : Bid seven No Trump.

You'll never make it. The opponents lead. How are you ever going to get to your hand to play them? You can't. Seven clubs is your best (only) bid.
 

Exactly! One is set thirteen tricks. Having all the cards is not enough. If they are played wrong, then one snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.

Re:Excellent! (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286840)

No... you'd turn the cards in and ask for a re-deal. Or if you were unscrupulous, you'd bid 1 club, and increase as necessary until you win the bidding. Your score in Bridge isn't for winning all 13 tricks, it's for winning more tricks than you bid. You bid 7, you are saying that you'll win all 13 tricks. But if you bid 1, you're saying you'll win 7 tricks, and then the extra 6 are just going to increase your score that much more. You'd bid "no trump" if you're holding all the face cards. :)

Re:Excellent! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286054)

"Or, it might get you into trouble."

What if I am not afraid of "trouble" ?

What then, you spineless cocksucker ?

You hadn't imagined that within the confines of your tiny little mind, had you ?

Re:Excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286122)

The law pertains to blanket calling everybody. There is absolutely no law prohibiting the repeated calling of a public official.

Your asshole is squeezing my cock! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38285610)

Too good, too good! Cumming! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Legality? (4, Insightful)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285620)

Is this legal? Didn't they specifically write exemptions into the do-not-call list legislation exempting political parties?

Re:Legality? (4, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285676)

Is this legal? Didn't they specifically write exemptions into the do-not-call list legislation exempting political parties?

Well if they do what other robo-companies do and host it outside of the US, then no laws will be broken

Re:Legality? (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285878)

That's such a cop-out on the part of the telcos. They could and should easily block the calling numbers used by the robodialing scamers who use out-of-country equipment.

Re:Legality? (5, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285680)

Yes [ftc.gov] . Yes they did.

Also, repeatedly calling the same number with the same message (as opposed to calling many numbers with the same message like the campaigns do) could be considered harassment.

Re:Legality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38285742)

So form a political party with one goal - to change that law - and start calling politicians' home phones with a frequency just outside what is considered harassment.

Re:Legality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38285862)

[...] with a frequency just outside what is considered harassment.

Ah, the naiveté of the cloistered nerd who honestly thinks the legal world operates in terms of discrete numbers and absolute, binary logic. A soul that's just oh-so-ripe for the crushing when the real world turns out to be bigger than they thought and that everyone else didn't grow up programming computers all day long. I can almost hear the angsty, whiny screams of depression from here! And... wait, wait.... is that a "that's not fair" I hear? Liberally covered with profanities? Bliss! Like music to my ears! Your bitter, bitter tears will amuse politicians and lawyers for years to come!

the "don't spam me, bro" party! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285984)

Re:Legality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286020)

A tragic case of joke blindness. And being a twat.

Re:Legality? (1)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286790)

That's why we have a jury system. To judge the law.

Re:Legality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38285880)

>repeatedly calling the same number with the same message
The site doesn't do this. You would have to go out of your way to do this through the reverserobocall site. It records one message from you and calls the list of politicians and organizations one time each.

Re:Legality? (5, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285690)

Actually the do-not-call legislation only covers entities which "engage in any "telemarketing" or "telephone solicitation" activities, as defined by the FTC and FCC, respectively.

Re:Legality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286134)

get a dictionary. an english dictionary. look-up 'solicitation'. if you still can't see how political campaigning falls under solicitation, close the dictionary, return your computer to the store, and just use the dictionary as toilet paper while you watch "Oh My Balls" in your living room toilet chair.

Re:Legality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286272)

Reading comprehension fail. What good is a dictionary when it is

as defined by the FTC and FCC, respectively.

If you are going to be insulting at least be intelligent about it.

Re:Legality? (4, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285792)

They have made themselves one of the explicit exceptions to the automated dialing laws they passed. "Here's a law that stops our voters from being harassed over the phone by everyone, except us of course."

There are a few additional exceptions, but not many. There ought to be a law that bans electoral bodies from passing laws with provisions to make the voting body an exception to the law being passed. Just one of those "I can't believe they had the balls to do that" stunts by our country's legislature. Really, if they can get away with that, they can get away with about anything.

Re:Legality? (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285856)

There ought to be a law that bans electoral bodies from passing laws with provisions to make the voting body an exception to the law being passed.

Except that these are exceptionally cheap to operate. If you ban them altogether, then you make running for office that much more expensive. Political 'speech' is not something to be restricted lightly.

Re:Legality? (1)

nelk (923574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286222)

There ought to be a law that bans electoral bodies from passing laws with provisions to make the voting body an exception to the law being passed.

Except that these are exceptionally cheap to operate. If you ban them altogether, then you make running for office that much more expensive. Political 'speech' is not something to be restricted lightly.

Besides, they would probably just exempt themselves from the 'We cant exempt ourselves' law :(

Re:Legality? (2)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286236)

There is a law against it. It's the elections law. You voted them into power, then voted to keep them there after they did it. You have the power and refuse to use it. Where the campaign money goes doesn't matter if the voters would vote intelligently.

Very nice (2)

ericloewe (2129490) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285622)

How come nobody had ever thought of this? It's pure genius. Now, a similar option for telemarketers would be even better...

No, very very stupid. (0)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285748)

How come nobody had ever thought of this? It's pure genius. Now, a similar option for telemarketers would be even better...

It's very nice for the people selling the services, at least until the law catches up with them. They get to charge the politicians for spam, and now the voters to spam back. Meanwhile if a politician gets too many robocalls, he simply involves the police or disconnects the number - using - wait for it - your tax dollars.

In other words for voters this is about as genius as beating their own head to a pulp against a brick wall.

Re:No, very very stupid. (2)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285782)

Political campaigns aren't funded by tax dollars (unless they agree to take only public funds which hasn't really been done since Carter vs Reagan).

Re:No, very very stupid. (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285922)

Campaigns aren't but law enforcement is. Legislators don't send their private body guards after you, they send the police, or the FBI or whatever other organizations they can get in on it.

Re:No, very very stupid. (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285946)

Not likely, political speech gets the broadest possible protection under the first amendment.

Re:No, very very stupid. (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286088)

Political speech is speech done by a politician. Not speech too a politician. Politicians themselves have the largest degree of protection, and if the message is just a complaint then they will call it harassment, and if the message against them has anything resembling a threat, it won't just be the police, it will be homeland security.

Re:Very nice (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285752)

Interesting idea, since businesses aren't covered by the do not call registry you'd be clear there, but you still might fall afoul of harassment laws if you repeatedly call the same party. Perhaps a better implementation might be to get a large list of inbound campaign (telemarketing not political) numbers and allow you to sign up to call those which you select from a list, if enough people do this it might drive down the profitability of such call centers. Personally since I almost never give out my home number and it's not listed in any phone book (VoIP provider) I basically never receive telemarketing calls except those from obviously fraudulant robo-dialers which are stupidly calling every number (real call campaigns have sophisticated data mining to maximize potential return per call placed).

This will be banned (3, Insightful)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285624)

Don't forget who's in charge.

Arrest the cheaters (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38285642)

Weren't there republicans purposely annoying people with robocalls from the other party a few elections ago?

Bipartisan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38285654)

Making this illegal could be the only thing in a long while that all of congress can agree on....

Re:Bipartisan? (3, Informative)

green1 (322787) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285698)

I can't speak for the US, but in Canada Robo-calls are already illegal... unless you're a politician... must be nice to be able to write yourself an exemption in to any law you pass.

I generally make it a policy never to vote for anyone who uses such scummy practices. Problem is, I believe that I should vote, and last election there weren't any candidates on the ballot who hadn't robo-called my cell phone at least once, one of them almost 10 times!

Re:Bipartisan? (1)

Fned (43219) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285732)

I can't speak for the US, but in Canada Robo-calls are already illegal...

...from Canada.

I'm just sayin'.

Re:Bipartisan? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285888)

I can't speak for the US, but in Canada Robo-calls are already illegal

Yeah, like that's working.

I've gotten to the point where if I don't immediately know the number (or if you can't show me in the first 15 seconds that you are someone I do business with) then I just have to assume the caller is fraudulent and tell them to fsck themselves.

I get so many &^%#^%*( robo-calls in a week the fact that it's ostensibly illegal is almost laughable. There's no teeth to the enforcement, and the people calling from the US or internationally do it with impunity.

I mean, come on, do you really think I believe you work for "the windows service provider" or that my machine seems to be causing alerts when you're calling me from a (probably fake) number in Texas?

Re:Bipartisan? (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286488)

Actually, the last robocall that called me WAS calling from Texas. I got through to a real person, and my opening gambit was "what part of the US is your call centre located in?" He must have been new, because he answered, and was then very confused. I then explained to him that the people who hired the people who hired his call centre were engaged in illegal activity, in contravention of numerous laws, and asked to speak to his manager. HE didn't know what to do, but eventually I heard the click of someone else joining the call, and then it terminated.

When politicians robocall, I just respond with an email stating that there's a reason we have DNC lists and antispam laws... and if they want to continue to be popular, they'll honour their constituent's right to privacy.

Amazingly, this results in only one call per party per election. Except the Green party... they can't afford a robocaller, so they end up with a bunch of wooden placards littering the landscape instead.

Re:Bipartisan? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285902)

I can't speak for the US, but in Canada Robo-calls are already illegal

Citation, please. What section of the criminal code covers this?

Re:Bipartisan? (2)

green1 (322787) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286442)

Telecom Decision CRTC 2008-6 Section IV

http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2008/dt2008-6.htm#m4 [crtc.gc.ca]

(as for what role the CRTC has in such matters... you can look that up yourself, but they do have the force of law behind their decisions)

Greetings friends, (4, Funny)

cupantae (1304123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285662)

Do you wish to look as happy as me? Well, you've got the power inside you right now.
So, use it! And send one dollar to Happy Dude, 742 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield.
Don't delay, eternal happiness is just a dollar away.

see you in court (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285686)

and take the auto dialer with you or I will have no case.

Oh, pawns can't move that way, you stupid arm! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286352)

Why it's the AT-5000 Auto-Dialer. My very first patent. Aw, would you listen to the gibberish they've got you saying, it's sad and alarming. You were designed to alert schoolchildren about snow days and such. Well, let's get you home to Frinky.

Re:Greetings friends, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286596)

Heh. That's your real address, isn't it?

Re:Greetings friends, (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286636)

What state is that in?

Quicktime? really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38285672)

"QuickTime Required"
"QuickTime is required to view this media."
People still force you to install this crap?

Ok then! (1)

Born2bwire (977760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285688)

Where's the all of the above option here...

Get organized, synchronized; target and FIRE!.... (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285724)

Combine this with an ideological movement group, and twitter/facebook, and hilarity ensues...until it's banned.

Sweet! (1)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285744)

Time to harass some elected officials in my new state of North Carolina.

"Governor Perdue, why did you sign a bill, written by Time Warner lobbyists, which effectively banned municipal broadband in North Carolina?"

DDOS? (1)

Synesthes (1351729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285788)

Interesting. A way to DDOS a politician? Almost worth the money. Wish we could do that in Canada...

Re:DDOS? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286262)

No, give the cost it seems you'd be launching a DDOS on your ability to pay for other things. I'm not sure why the phreaks never did this back in the day. Like, what the hell were you doing with all of that knowledge and capability, if not annoying the heck out of our representatives? If I ever build a time machine that goes backwards into time, captain crunch will be hearing from me.

In Soviet Russia (1)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285796)

Politician turn table on YOU!

Great way to get ignored (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38285816)

Politicians want to hear from people in their district. The moment the staffer realizes it's a robocall, they will HANG UP and not even record the fact that you called. If you call repeatedly, it still only gets you marked down once, until the staffer realizes that you do nothing but robocall at which time you get marked down zero times.

Anyone using this to advocate an issue is doing active harm to their cause. Call your politician your damn self. It's free.

Great way to *make a point* (3, Insightful)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285870)

Politicians want to hear from people in their district. The moment the staffer realizes it's a robocall, they will HANG UP and not even record the fact that you called. If you call repeatedly, it still only gets you marked down once, until the staffer realizes that you do nothing but robocall at which time you get marked down zero times.

Anyone using this to advocate an issue is doing active harm to their cause. Call your politician your damn self. It's free.

The point is showing politicians how crass and condescending it is to call someone on the phone with a pre-recorded message.

If they realize you're a robot, start ignoring you, and no one draws any parallels to their own campaign tactics then it probably can't be saved - both the politicians' intelligence and that of voters who respond positively to robocalls - but at least you tried.

My first thought for using the system was harassing corrupt and ignorant jerks, with an ironic twist; I don't think anyone really expects much more from this than a symbolic gesture or some pranks/harassment.

What bothers me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38285828)

...is I can't see any indication of how many times the spam call is sent out before they require more money. Am I paying for one call or for one hundred?

Re:What bothers me... (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285872)

You pay for 1 call, regardless of whether or not it's answered.

You won't reach the representative... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38285900)

...you're just making the staffers' lives miserable. The ones that sometimes struggle to survive in the DC area due to the cost of living if they're new. The ones with 4 roommates and 2 other jobs. You won't affect your representative, but you will be a jerk. Congratulations.

Re:You won't reach the representative... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38285998)

This has to be better than the calls staffers already get. Those, they have to fake interest and attempt to converse with the rubes on the phone.

Though I bet it'd really make them miserable if you pretend to be a real caller for the first part of the call.

"Oh hi, I'm calling to speak with you about the... hello, are you there?" (pause) "Oh, hello. I'm calling about... hello? It's cutting out a b... oh, there you are. I... I wanted to say that automated calls are a nuisance. They interrupt" (continue regular message here.)

Re:You won't reach the representative... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286014)

In this case I would not give a fuck.

Re:You won't reach the representative... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286092)

you might as well say the protesters in a dictactorship shouldn't protest because they will not affect the dictator, they will just make the life of police and military
miserable because they are the ones that have to shoot them

Re:You won't reach the representative... (2)

Reziac (43301) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286466)

Considering that the staffers actually write the text of most bills, and considering what a lot of crap has come down the legislative pike in recent years... Serves 'em right.

Re:You won't reach the representative... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286502)

...you're just making the staffers' lives miserable. The ones that sometimes struggle to survive in the DC area due to the cost of living if they're new. The ones with 4 roommates and 2 other jobs. You won't affect your representative, but you will be a jerk. Congratulations.

Yeah, sorry, but nothing you say will cause me to feel any sympathy whatsoever for the miserable life of some loser staffer of a corrupt robocalling piece of garbage politician who cares not one whit for the wishes of their constituents. If even one staffer of robocalling scum is driven to tears, that's a win.

Re:You won't reach the representative... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286788)

So, you're saying... I make the lives of "staffers" who aid and abet their jerk miserable?

Where do I sign up?

If you support the problem, enable the problem, contribute to the problem, finance the problem ... You're part of the problem.

Brought to you by someone who stuffs prepaid envelopes with other companies' outer envelopes and sends them back rather than unsubscribe from credit offers. Because I may as well support the USPS and raise the cost of UCBM.

Re:You won't reach the representative... (1)

Indy1 (99447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286902)

Fuck em. If they decide to be whores for a bunch of vote buying fascists and communists, that's their problem, not mine.

They can get a real job doing something useful for a change.

Creative answering machine message (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38285962)

I just use a creative answering machine message. Something to the extent of:

"Hello. You've reached the residence of [Insert Name here]. If you are calling on behalf of a business that I have no prior relationship with, a charity asking for a donation, a survey, a political party, or a politician, you may make use of my answering machine for the price of one hundred thousand dollars per message. I will waive this fee in all other cases.

"If you do not agree to these terms, you may hang up at any time before the message starts recording. Otherwise, leave a message, including your name, the name of the party that you represent, and the billing address. Have a nice day!"

Most human beings hang up before the beep. But those automated callers have technically made me a millionaire. At least, that's what my Accounts Receivable claim. Now if I could only manage to collect on those debts...

The right S/W, a PC, a modem, and a POTS line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286016)

and you should be able to robo call your representative for free.
      (Or maybe there's an Apple app for that.)

Kind of a grass roots force multiplier.

Seems only fair.

And fun too.

Easier and cheaper (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286022)

This also works well for junk faxers: Just set a modem to auto-redial. It's easy. It's effective. Heck, I've heard of people setting the modem to auto-redial on a phone line that's rarely used (like a fax line), and simply forgetting about it for a few days.

I remember they repeatedly called me at one point. (2)

Lohrno (670867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286042)

I haven't gotten one of these lately, but I did a while back get a political call that was very annoying. I hung up and the phone rang again continuing with the message. I hung up again, and it called me back. This was like 6-10 years ago I think. That can't be kosher..

Don't also forget to vote! (1)

The Creator (4611) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286056)

For any candidate who did not robocall you.

That wont work. Some are deceptive (1)

Marrow (195242) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286286)

Some robocalls have been deliberately deceptive: they are run by the opposing candidate using a voice actor to sound like the opponent and made as obnoxious as possible. They were pretending to support the candidate they were trying to defeat.

$2.49 per call! (1)

doug141 (863552) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286284)

Expensive.

I already do this. (5, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286324)

A while back I donated money to the ACLU. I thought it would go towards defending civil liberties, but it turned out my donation was used to pay a company to repeatedly call me and ask for more money.

After a few hours of research, I found the private home phone number of their CEO. A few days worth of repeatedly calling him and hanging up got my number off their list forever.

Re:I already do this. (3, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286378)

A while back I donated money to the ACLU. I thought it would go towards defending civil liberties, but it turned out my donation was used to pay a company to repeatedly call me and ask for more money.

THIS.

That's exactly why I am loathe to donate to any charity. I just don't know what else they will do with the transactional information and its bullshit that I should even have to worry about it. I only give cash to places I can walk in to. The EFF is happy to take walk in cash donations, BTW.

Reverse psychology (5, Interesting)

Insightfill (554828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286356)

Starting in about the 2004 election, the tactics of the local election robocalls changed quite a bit. The call would start out with a line like: "Hi! I'd like to talk to you about candidate Mark Smith..."

At that point, you'd hang up thinking "Damn Mark Smith!" BUT: what you didn't know was that a few more minutes into the call, you'd discover that the call was sponsored by Mark's opponent, and if you had stayed on long enough, you would have heard about Mark's failings and how good his opponent was.

If you were on the fence before the call, you SURE weren't going to vote for Mark after a dozen of THOSE calls.

The "R"s used this a LOT in 2004, and it has picked up every year since then.

Slime.

Pulte vs. LIU (2)

dcollins (135727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286414)

Just this past summer the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals found that a union could be held liable under computer hacking laws (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) for doing exactly this -- using a combination of auto-dialing and member phone calls to protest an action, and thus filling up the business' voicemail and making the lines unavailable for a period of time:

http://computerfraud.us/articles/can-a-labor-union-be-sued-under-the-computer-fraud-and-abuse-act-for-spamming-an-employer%E2%80%99s-voice-and-email-systems [computerfraud.us]

Re:Pulte vs. LIU (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286544)

But that was not political speech. A fine hair to split, but a hair nonetheless.

To make this work it needs to call cell phones (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286612)

And it needs to be annoying both in destination and time of day.

Unexpected consequences (2)

junglebeast (1497399) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286760)

While I am ALL for bombarding our sometimes misguided, uninformed or overzealous congressmen with public opinion...I have a fear that giving people the ability to set up automated calling in this fashion would just overwhelm their call centers to the point where they just stop picking up the phone and listening to the public at all.

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