Robocalls become crime punishable by $16K per call fine

Rejoice! Automated and unsolicited phone calls in which businesses try to push products on consumers will soon be punishable by fines of up to $16,000 per call, according to the US Federal Trade Commission.

Calls from politicians, public service announcements and "informational" calls will be exempt from the new rule. A call alerting a traveler that his or her flight has been delayed would still be allowed, for example. Banks, telephone carriers and most charitable organizations are also excluded from the ban, the FTC says. The FTC asks people to report questionable robocalls by visiting its complaint Web site or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.

(thanks, Chief Fulfiller of Needs)