FCC allows phone companies to block robocalls

The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to allow phone companies to block unwanted robocalls.

Companies will now be allowed to block these calls by default but if you want unwanted calls (which is of course an oxymoron), you can unblock them.  The ruling, according to the FCC, “also clarifies that providers may offer their customers the choice to opt-in to tools that block calls from any number that does not appear on a customer’s contact list or other ‘white lists.’ This option would allow consumers to decide directly whose calls they are willing to receive.”

Companies will be able to use technology that authenticates the origin of the calls to prevent “spoofing,” which scammers often use to disguise where the calls are coming from.

There is some concern that the technology could affect legitimate calls such as calls from doctors who deliberately hide their numbers or robocalls from pharmacies telling you that your prescription is ready. I’m sure, however, that there are ways to accommodate these edge cases. For example, a doctor could route calls through a clinic or hospital so that its number shows up instead of the doctor’s.

For more details, see this post at CNET