May 15, 2019

THIS WOULD PRETTY MUCH GUARANTEE TRUMP’S RE-ELECTION, WOULDN’T IT? U.S. Poised to Let Phone Companies Block Robocalls. “Responding to widespread consumer complaints, the Federal Communications Commission says it will take steps to give phone companies permission to block unwanted robocalls. Americans get billions of unwanted phone calls annually, making it the No. 1 complaint received by the FCC. But carriers have long been wary of blocking robocalls for fear of breaking the regulator’s call-completion rules that require phone companies to make sure calls reach their intended recipient. . . . Mr. Pai said the commission has scheduled a June 6 vote on a measure that would assure phone companies that blocking unwanted calls won’t run afoul of federal rules. The agency said it would enable phone companies to analyze their network traffic to spot and block robocalls. They could let customers create so-called white lists of approved callers and block all other incoming calls.”

I have a proposal of my own:

Under my proposal, any incoming calls from people not on my contact list wouldn’t go through unless the caller paid me something. Twenty-five cents would probably be enough to discourage phone spammers, who make huge numbers of (mostly futile) calls. (Though I’d be willing to go higher. Maybe I could charge phone-sex rates: I’d be willing to listen to most anything from anyone for $3.99 plus $1.99 a minute.)

Of course, hardly anyone would be willing to pay me that much, or even 25 cents, to receive a call. Which is the point. If it’s not worth a quarter for them to call me, why is it worth my time to pick up?

Give the phone companies a cut, and they’d get serious about addressing number-spoofing and other robocall tricks: There would be money on the line, and they’re nothing if not serious about revenue. (Plus, I’ll bet a cellular carrier who added this option to a plan would get a lot of subscribers.)

Let’s do this.

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