‘Has Anybody Gone to Prison for Violating the F.C.C.’s Do Not Call List?’ – The New York Times

A reader asks: ““Has anybody ever gone to prison for (repeatedly) violating the F.C.C.’s Do Not Call list?”Cecilia Kang, a technology reporter for The Times, considers the question._____No, no one has ever gone to prison for violating the National Do Not Call Registry, and it’s unlikely anyone ever will. That’s because the two federal agencies that oversee the list largely hand out civil, not criminal, penalties.

Underlying the reader’s question may be a frustration shared by many readers: Unwanted marketing calls haven’t gone away and, in some cases, seem to be getting worse. Data on robocalls and complaints (and lots reader email I’ve received in recent years) confirm that unauthorized telemarketing calls are on the rise and are hard to control.”

David Lindsay

According to one commentator, one way the US could get rid of robocalls would be to upgrade the national phone system to VOIP, or IP based services,  and insist on SIP technology. A less costly solution would be to make the penalties crimininal, and more severe, and have the Feds crack down on the companies whose products are being sold, who contract with the untraceable, off shore marketers.

To the New York Times Comments:  Hamden, CT Pending Approval

Good article and useful comments. My home is deluged with these unwanted calls, and I wonder daily, when my government is going to do something about this small, but annoying scourge of life in America. I remain critical of the NY Times insisting on pushing the Times Insider, to get extra cash out of its subscriber base. This report on robocalls is not really a Times Insider story, this is one of the most important consumer protection scandal stories or our times. For the NY Times to try and harvest something extra, by taking big news, and making it, pay extra for big news, is not only questionable, its despicable. What a great way to ruin your once excellent brand. Meanwhile, the intensiveness of robo calls is big news. The NYT should be covering it every week, because their subscribers, and the American public, and this subscriber, want relief.

Here is a helpful comments, from an informed writers:

OSS Architect

California 1 hour ago

“Robo-callers have to connect from a VoIP/IP network (calling based on the internet) to the PSTN (public switched telephone network); also known as POTS (plain old telephone service).

To do that, they need the complicity of a US Public Telco with access to the PSTN. So we know where these junk calls are coming from. One typical scenario is a small local telco in a sparsely populated area, that is not
profitable; except for money they get from robo-call operations that dump millions of calls into the PSTN system through their “portal”.

These “bad operators” are telco’s that are Federally licensed, and given the right regulatory environment their license to operate could be taken away.

In some sense, robo-calls are an unintended consequence of US Telco de-regulation in the 90’s. The current PSTN technology (SS7) has no way to authenticate caller ID’s. The Bell System monopoly controlled the number assignments and constructed all the caller ID information. Now anyone can spoof any caller ID.

Ironically, we’ve had commercial telephony technology since the late 90’s called SIP (session initiation protocol) which authenticates both call endpoints, and can’t be spoofed. This would eliminate robo-calls, but it requires overhaul of the phone system, which is in critical need of overhaul (to IP based services) for many reasons.”



Boston 21 hours ago

“Call blocking is ineffective because the robocalls can randomly pick a phone number that will appear on your caller ID. It can even be your own. They can even pick caller ID’s from your local area so you think it’s a local call. You block it and another number is used. Looked at the government websites and they say report it to your phone company. Tried that. No help.

I’m told that robo computers blast out the calls, almost starting with 000, then when it gets a hit (not necessarily answered), it picks a calling number that appears on the caller ID. If you answer, the computer then rings back to the company sponsoring the calls. You get some service person — or computer message advising you of some “deal”. It would seem easy for enforcement agencies to figure out the sponsoring company, e.g. cruise line, and then lower the hammer on them.”

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