Tech-powered war on robocalls pledged by 12 U.S. telephone carriers and 51 attorneys general

In the absence of any regulation or meaningful action by the federal government to tackle the persistent and annoying scourge of robocalls, twelve of America's largest phone companies on Thursday agreed to implement new technology that helps block robocalls as part of an agreement between telecoms and 51 attorneys general.

Across the country, illegal spam calls rang phones an estimated 4.7 billion times in July alone.

Oddly enough, just as I was typing this blog post, I got one myself! A robocall on my mobile phone warning me that authorities "have an arrest warrant out for you." The robocall suggested I please hold to claim my arrest warrant. Hey, even if it was legit, either way, it seemed unwise.

From the Washington Post's Tony Romm:

Under the agreement, the 12 carriers have agreed to implement call-blocking technology, make anti-robocall tools available for free to consumers and deploy a new system that would label calls as real or spam. Known by its acronym, STIR/SHAKEN, the technology takes aim at a practice known as spoofing, where fraudsters mask their identities by using phone numbers that resemble those that they're trying to contact in a bid to get victims to pick up and surrender their personal information.

Signing the pledge are larger mobile carriers, such as AT&T, Comcast, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, which already have said they would implement such robocall protections and in some cases have started testing them around the country. Other carriers adopting the pledge include Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Consolidated, Frontier, U.S. Cellular and Windstream.

Phone companies, state attorneys general announce broad campaign to fight robocalls [WaPo, image: shutterstock]