Stopping Illegal Robocalling [telecom]

comp.dcom.telecom readership:
I'd like your help. Perhaps together we can get an infrastructure in place
to stop illegal robocalling.
The background:
You may remember that in 2012-2013 the FTC (NOT FCC) held a contest
for a way to stop illegal robocalling.
I entered the contest, but did not win. My proposal is technical - I
don't think trying to change bad behavior will work.
The summary of my original proposal can be seen at
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I could not get the entry itself made visible because the contest is closed.
Because I think the affair needs FCC (not FTC) action, I tried to get
people at the FCC to look at my proposal and tell me what's wrong with
it. I've been unsuccessful in getting feedback.
So, other pool of expertise is you. What I'd like is for those of you
so inclined to look at my entry and critique it. If it turns out it
has fatal flaws, so be it, I'll go away quietly. But if there's
consensus that it will work, the next step is to gather suggestions as
to how to get it implemented. At this moment I would guess that means
proposing and advocating new FCC rules, nontrivial as that may be.
Our Moderator, Bill Horne, has kindly posted my entry document on the
telecom web site, even while warning me of the difficulty of this
task. Be aware before you jump in that it's 15 pages (the FTC contest
limit) of fairly small print and technical. Some of you will remember
a thread in this newsgroup about this topic; I exploited information
in that thread and referenced it in the proposal.
You can access the proposal here:
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The main thrust of the proposal is to detect Caller ID spoofing. For
your information, the IETF has resurrected its efforts to detect
Caller ID spoofing.
Check it out:
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Also available at:
ftp://ftp.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-ietf-stir-problem-statement-03.txt
To summarize, what's needed is
1) critiques of my robocall/caller-ID document
2) advice on how to proceed next if we can agree that it will work.
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I read thru the proposal. Most of it I think I understood -- but it would take someone far more knowledgeable than myself to get a good handle on it. But, assuming it all would work, I suspect that it would take a lot of reprogramming of switches to get it implemented. That in itself would take years!
Here is an alternate idea. A year ago, while the mechanism for it was in place, the public was not aware of it. As it stands now, every phone call made is added to a large database. We don't know how much information about each call is recorded -- but probably as a minimum it must include the actual calling number, the called number, and a timestamp. The government is the custodian of that database.
When I receive an illegal robocall, and elect to complain, the only information I really should have to supply is my number and the approximate time and date. That could be simplified with a new vertical code (the suggested *99 maybe).
Should not require much for the database be queried and the calling party accurately identified.
When the new Bureau of Robocaller Police (or whatever) gets multiple complaints that point to some originating source, then it would seem that a court could issue an order to actually record calls from that source, and prosecution begun. With high enough fines for illegal robocalls, then the national debt could be wiped out.
We have already paid for (in many ways) the collection of phone call history -- let's put it to use for our good.
...Bob
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Reply to
Bob K
Per Bob K:
The lame-sounding letters that I usually get from the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office (in response to my registering a complaint on their DNC violation page) suggest that they have pretty much given up on prosecution because the perpetrators are largely offshore, user VOIP, and hide behind multiple VOIP relays (whatever *that* means...).
Couple months ago I fed them a pretty good one: some scam operation where they pose as bill collectors and threaten to garnish people's wages if the don't pay up.
They actually were able to locate them - and agreed that it was a scam. But they came back saying that there was nothing they could do because it was a corporation that had since been bought by somebody else. I translated that to "We just don't care anymore".
Budget cuts?
Reply to
Pete Cresswell
I have developed my own personal database and use PhoneTray to block any robocaller that I have entered on my Black list. I prefer that approach rather then have some private or government entity (NSA :-) ) do the work.
The only problem I have is for those calls who the CID says are "Anonymous" or "Private Caller". Ordinarily, I would block all of those calls. However, the calls I receive from Europe also show up as "Anonymous" or "Private Caller" so I have to answer all of them.
Reply to
Arnie Goetchius
I was under the impression that the robocallers were altering their CID each time that they make a call, so as to prevent just the kind of blacklisting that you're doing. Not so?
Bill
Reply to
Bill Horne
They may do that but they don't change the area code or the NNX so I just block everything that they keep the same. I have one who just changes the last digit so my black list may show Areacode, NNX, 120? which blocks everything ending in 1200 to 1209. In some cases, I will block an entire area code just because I would never receive a legitimate call from that area.
Reply to
Arnie Goetchius
From what I have seen, the frequently use the same number for weeks and sometime for months. My phone system allows me to block number, but there is a limit. I end up just clearing it out every six months or so, except when I get a lot of political calls.
Reply to
Jim Rusling
With due respect, none of this or its follow-ups address the question posed by the poster (to critique the proposal), and some of it is addressed in the proposal:

I read thru the proposal. Most of it I think I understood -- but it would take someone far more knowledgeable than myself to get a good handle on it. But, assuming it all would work, I suspect that it would take a lot of reprogramming of switches to get it implemented. That in itself would take years! +--------------------------------------------------------------+ The poster claims to have participated in planning the development of switching features, and estimates between 6 months and 2 years for this. +--------------------------------------------------------------+ Here is an alternate idea. A year ago, while the mechanism for it was in place, the public was not aware of it. As it stands now, every phone call made is added to a large database. We don't know how much information about each call is recorded -- but probably as a minimum it must include the actual calling number, the called number, and a timestamp. The government is the custodian of that database. +--------------------------------------------------------------+ Presumably this is about what the NSA collects. Whether this will continue is debatable, and whether it can be legally accessed for stopping robocalling is even more debatable. It cannot, however, record an "actual calling number" when there isn't one (VoIP calls). And perhaps most importantly, it is an after-the-fact method - it depends on the calls completing, being recorded and finally prosecuted. Talk about "years!" The proposal claims to actually stop the calls from completing. As I understand it, robocallers are expected to stop of their own accord if they can't make money because they will be charged (however little) for every call because all calls would all be answered at the phone switch. +--------------------------------------------------------------+ When I receive an illegal robocall, and elect to complain, the only information I really should have to supply is my number and the approximate time and date. That could be simplified with a new vertical code (the suggested *99 maybe).
Should not require much for the database be queried and the calling party accurately identified.
When the new Bureau of Robocaller Police (or whatever) gets multiple complaints that point to some originating source, then it would seem that a court could issue an order to actually record calls from that source, and prosecution begun. With high enough fines for illegal robocalls, then the national debt could be wiped out. +--------------------------------------------------------------+
and collecting money are problematic. My own view is that of the poster - the only way to stop these people is for them to lose money. +--------------------------------------------------------------+
We have already paid for (in many ways) the collection of phone call history -- let's put it to use for our good.
...Bob
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