Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

The earlier regulations were too broad and in theory could subject callers to a fine if they called or texted anyone else without prior consent.

What he is asking for now is that caller IDs be verified. I don't know how realistic that is given the way they are implimented (trivially spoofable) but that's a narrower demand.




That does not sound too broad. I don't think anyone wants these unsolicited marketing calls. And people definitely don't want the 'free vacation in the Bahamas' spam calls. I can hardly tell the two apart. What's odd is it seems there are more robocalls today than there were 5-10 years ago.


Too broad meaning if I find your lost dog, I can't technically call the number on the dog tag because I don't have consent.


Sure you do. Putting your phone number on the collar is implicit consent (request even!) to be called if the dog is found.

The law is not applied by dumb machines. No-one is getting fined in the scenario you mentioned, just like no-one is being fined for calling a pizza place because they found their number on a menu. Behavior can be used to infer consent.


That tag is written consent right there. The number isn't put there for decoration.


That would never actually happen. What did actually happen is now I get at least half a dozen robocalls per day. It has rendered my phone useless.


Except who would report that person? There has to be some sort of intent there too plus the complaint.


Sounds like you fell for fearmongering.


Doesn't 'fell for' imply they aren't posting in bad faith? Seriously, what person over the age of 15 actually thinks calling a number on a dog collar is gonna get them prosecuted by the big bad FCC? That's ludicrous even by the standards of the kind of delusions Republicans have normally.


I'm trying to stick with the HN guideline of reading people charitably, unless they make false claims as a habit.


I'm all for requiring businesses to get explicit permission from me before they can make the little box in my pocket buzz and interrupt me.


I'm... not so much, I'd prefer that they be required to register with an organization that can bop them on the head if they abuse it.

I wouldn't want to see statistical surveys, polling and other grey area items here impacted.


> I wouldn't want to see statistical surveys, polling and other grey area items here impacted.

Since literally everyone I personally know has given up answering calls because of all the spam, I'd say that your "grey area" items are already being impacted.


Allow me to introduce you to 'push polling' [1] where you disguise marketing as polling.

For example, you "survey" people with questions like "Are you aware that Hello Fresh delivers in your area?" and "Would you be more or less likely to vote for Barack Hussein Obama if you knew he was a Muslim?"

Sadly surveys and polling are already spam, anyone who wants to get rid of phone spam will have to ban nonconsensual telephone polling as well.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Push_poll


> I wouldn't want to see statistical surveys, polling and other grey area items here impacted.

That was the case before. Political polls and other related things were explicitly exempted.


I'd prefer that they be required to register with an organization that can bop them on the head if they abuse it.

I know the FCC doesn't have express legislative power here, but can't they impose fines or am I mistaken-on either or both?


The FCC fines television and radio stations for regulation violations.


It should be enough to force the called ID to be valid. Then the crappy people will know you can identify them or even call them back. Removing anonymity should go a long way.


It would depend on what constitutes a valid caller ID.

At least some of the robodialer operators programatically check out a block of numbers from a VoIP vendor, make a bunch of calls, then release the numbers. If all they have to do is correctly report the number they're calling from, that's pretty useless. The called party has practically no recourse because the number that called them never accepted inbound calls, and has been disconnected by the time you call it back anyway.

How could 'valid caller ID' be defined so that robocallers can be identified?


Valid caller ID - even if it’s to a VoIP vendor’s leased number - is better than the current situation where scammers and spammers can use literally any number they want. At least I can search up a leased number, see complaints, and block them (or flag abuse with my carrier). If I (or my carrier) block them, well, serves that VoIP provider right for leasing their precious numbers out to scammers.

With spoofed numbers, I’ve seen calls appear to come from an FBI office in Virginia, local and state police divisions, state troopers, and random businesses. There isn’t any way to really deal with those kinds of calls - and you can’t reasonably screen them out.


If the number in caller id is accurate, it provides a decent reporting channel. It’d make it easier for telecom providers to take abuse reports and punish the abusive robodialers, whether by cutting them off or referring them to law enforcement.


> It’d make it easier for telecom providers to take abuse reports and punish the abusive robodialers

They simply aren't going to do that unless they're forced by law or regulation.


If the source number is valid that opens up some spam blocklist style options for phone software.


Wouldn’t that just result in orgs making their calls through shell call center services?


This is arguably a step forward, if it means there's someone to subpoena for information about the robocaller.


> It should be enough to force the called ID to be valid.

Honestly, I'd be utterly stunned if this made any noticeable impact at all.


What about individuals though? I think that is the point in question here


Nobody's[1] goal is to stop you from calling your neighbor to tell them they left their garage open or whatever. That's the sort of thing telemarketing astroturfers love to go on about, squirting squid-ink to confuse things.

[1] I'm sure it is someone's.


The regulations could have been reworked to exempt individuals using smartphones. I don't think it's that hard to write a reg that makes that distinction.


> I don't know how realistic that is given the way they are implimented (trivially spoofable)

They are trivially spoofable at the tech level. But if there was a "know your customer" style law enforced for telcos, it would be easy to resolve. Telcos know who sends them the call. It's either a) their customer and they're responsible for verification, b) their customer with a signed agreement for caller id substitution (customer is responsible), or c) another telco, and now it's their turn through this question.

Foreign telcos could be a problem, but really, the US can put enough pressure by "comply or we can't legally forward the call" to solve this.


If Pai says something I assume the opposite is true until I have harder evidence. I do not believe that people produced a regulation that would have criminalized any unsolicited call.


Broad or not, we currently have a consumer unfriendly FCC. The people making the robo calls are just becoming more brazen because the threat of repercussion is small. Repealing those laws didn't help.


that sounds like a feature, not a bug. Cold calls, even without spoofed caller IDs, should be a fine-able offense.


What? I want my acquaintances to be able to give me a ring if they found my number through mutual friends. That’s a good thing. Preventing or discouraging that would be bullshit.


In the accepted meaning, a "cold call" is an unsolicited commercial call.

Nobody is looking to saddle non-commercial personal calls with fines or prior consent.


T-Mobile is already signing their Caller IDs. T-Mobile to T-Mobile can show if a Caller ID is verified today on certain phones.


> The earlier regulations were too broad and in theory could subject callers to a fine if they called or texted anyone else without prior consent.

This is exactly the way it should be.


the reason we have judges is to distinguish between cases were scammers/commercial spammers blast millions of phones with robocalls and people accidentally dialing the wrong number or calling someone who doesn't have their contact saved


The existence of judges does not negate the need for the legislative branch to craft clear laws (and the executive to craft clear regulations).


P sure the executive agency that uses its rulemaking authority here FCC, clearly said you need an autodialer


I'm also not terribly convinced that the earlier rules would help against the current spate of robocalls


The reason we're seeing so many robocalls now is because we currently have a consumer unfriendly FCC. Repealing those laws only made the people doing the robo calling more brazen.


The number of robocalls I'm getting is consistent over the last five years. Maybe I'm just special. I'm also not convinced that any law will fix this - it requires the carriers to agree to change the entry points into the PSTN.


This is just a conclusion plus adverbs.


Too broad is your opinion and I see no problem with the way that law was written.


If the only way one would get caught doing that is if they were doing it at scale, I'd say the law was working PERFECTLY. The repeal should be repealed.


SPF for caller ID or something isn’t a bad idea, IMO.


Regulations are always going to be "too broad" to magically work if enforced by people who haven't got your best interests at heart, the solution is neither to try to imagine some hypothetical regulation that is "narrow enough" nor to give up regulating and wring our hands at the consequences as unregulated capitalism cheerfully kills us all to make a few pennies more, but to get _good regulators_

The UK has a lot of white collar crooks who'd really rather you didn't know what they own. Companies House, the regulator and list of all companies incorporated in the UK, was told wink wink to get them to list the actual Human People who control them.

Unsurprisingly in practice the result is full of obvious lies (corporations listed instead of Human People for example) and omissions (companies that claim there is no-one controlling them when obviously they're actually run by a Russian oligarch who suspects his name on the paperwork might make life trickier)

When asked about this Companies House says alas, it doesn't have the funding needed to ever actually prosecute anyone for violating the law. Too bad.

But it turns out they did find enough money to prosecute exactly one person. The person who registered bogus companies with the names of politicians who allowed this bullshit to happen as the Human Persons controlling them. That person, unlike all the tax evading billionaires, crooks, and mass murderers known to be violating the law, got prosecuted...

The _wrong_ lesson is that we shouldn't have asked. The _right_ lesson is that the government is complicit and its regulator needs to be run by somebody who isn't there to cover for the bad guys.


Not all callers, auto-callers. You have to be a robot to qualify.


So he's only addressing spoofed caller ID, and not doing a thing about the ungodly number of spam calls? Sounds to me like his priorities are exactly backwards.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: