Every 90 minutes, the office phones of all five FCC Commissioners rings and John Oliver's voice comes out of it, demanding that they take action on robocalls, reversing FCC Chairman (and former Verizon exec) Ajit Pai's policy of relying on carriers to self-police their anti-robocall measures, and heading off his plan to gut the existing, weak protections.
When it came to robocalling the FCC, Oliver didn't need viewers' help. "This time, unlike our past encounters [with the FCC], I don't need to ask hordes of real people to bombard [the FCC] with messages, because with the miracle of robocalling, I can now do it all by myself," Oliver said.
"It turns out robocalling is so easy, it only took our tech guy literally 15 minutes to work out how to do it," Oliver also said. He noted that "phone calls are now so cheap and the technology so widely available that just about everyone has the ability to place a massive number of calls." (We discussed that problem, with a focus on spoofed Caller ID, in this 2017 feature.)
Under US law, political robocalls to landline telephones are allowed without prior consent from the recipient. Such calls to cell phones require the called party's prior express consent, but Oliver presumably directed his robocalls to the commissioners' office phones.
John Oliver fights robocalls… by robocalling Ajit Pai and the FCC [Jon Brodkin/Ars Technica]
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