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Robocalls have made my telephone so useless as a telephone that I'm beginning to wonder if I even need a telephone number at all, just as I started wondering if I actually needed a house phone or cable.

In the US, house phones and cable are for being advertised to, cell phones and streaming are for contact and content respectively. That has been the case for at least a decade. I can receive calls from numbers that are not in my contacts but the notification is silent.

Now if only I were allowed to dispose of my mailbox I could have a home free of advertising. Yesterday I received an infuriating catalog from Restoration Hardware that weighed a pound and a half, all because I bought one awful product that fell apart in a few months and had to be recycled. It amazes me that we subsidize such obnoxious ads being delivered to every resident.

> cell phones and streaming are for contact and content respectively. That has been the case for at least a decade.

That decade-long social norm is dead. Now all phones are for being advertised to.

That is true, at least in my experience. At least modern phones are smart enough to know how to shut up.

If Spectrum spent half the money they spend on leaflets and promotional offers (that aren't really promotions and invariably force one to purchase Spectrum TV) on actually growing and upgrading their fiber network, my internet at home wouldn't be so absolutely awful.

Naturally you just can't expect a comprehensive fiber network in the largest metropolitan area in the Western world, though.

Yeah, it's really insane. I think I might get more spam "upgrade" offers from Spectrum than I do all other mail combined...

> It amazes me that we subsidize such obnoxious ads being delivered to every resident.

It's actually the other way around. The amount of bulk mail helps to keep costs low for the USPS. I have receiving it, but it does make things cheaper, because it is only delivered when there's capacity (less busy days).

Cant you stick the wording "no junk mail" on your mailbox and be free of spam?

In Australia basically every mailbox has that on it and it is enforced by law.

I think the law is the opposite in the US. You legally can’t refuse the things. Or at least the mail carriers are absolutely required to deliver it to you.

You can refuse most items:


Sections "1.1.2 Refusal at Delivery" and "1.1.3 Refusal After Delivery".

Here in Finland I think 97%+ of physical advertisement "mail" is non-addressed and the carriers of those respect "no ads" signs (no address => ad).

I think this might be different in US in that advertisement mail is usually addressed?

It’s the same in Norway, but some fucker peeled my sticker off, and I keep forgetting to get a new one >:(

I've had reasonable success cutting back on useless catalogs with catalogchoice.org. There are a few very persistent clothing companies that I'll have to call to see if I can get them to finally stop sending catalogs every few weeks, but for the most part, Catalog Choice is pretty quick and effective. Too bad there's no way to opt out of all bulk mail, though.

Does someone know how this is so different in Europe, are there some technical measures perhaps? As far as I remember, I haven't received a single spam call in ten years. Apart from a couple of calls from weird countries that I didn't answer, but that's it.

AFAIK in Germany doing a Robocall is illegal if you didn't get clear consent from the called party first (300'000€ per call, additional 10'000€ if the number was hidden).

The german telcos have to my knowledge also started to block large lists of numbers used by the scammers if they are incoming calls. Some stuff still works like callback scams (They ring you for a few seconds, then hang up, calling back is expensive).

There is also the difference that the US is 300 million people that basically all speak english, which is a cheap option to hire for in Indian callcenters. Europe is much more diverse and the languages are more expensive to hire for, so it's less profitable.

The regulation the FCC is threatening to enact has existed in the UK for a little while. This means the source of spam calls is known, and can be fined.

Based on my understanding of our phone system it's a bit easier here though, as we don't have the split in operators of the core landline network - it's all OpenReach underneath.

It's different if the caller is also based in Europe but the worst offenders are not. I rarely get spam calls since I rarely pick up unless I know who the caller is and the odd times I get caught I just hang up.

MY dad went through a phase of being plagued because he is from a time when it would be considered rude not to engage in the conversation. As a consequence I suspect he was on some kind of suckers list?

It took a while to train him off this habit, then he discovered email...

Large fines. They take spam calls very seriously here. I even remember a story where a company was fined for sending unsolicited sms messages and then got fined again because the company somehow thought it was a good idea to send an apology sms message to everyone. The fines aren't small.

Absolutely. If any carrier offered a cheaper data-only plan I would seriously consider it.

I don't have a spam problem, don't have a house phone and still I wonder if I actually need a phone. I basically talk to my friends over text chat (telegram/signal/whatsapp) and my family calls me on whatsapp. Its very rare that I use the actual "phone" (typically only to call utility companies really).

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