Last year, around 47 million robocalls were made in the U.S. However, due to new legislation, that number is expected to drop drastically, reports Gizmodo.
The Senate recently approved a bill that plans will hinder robocalls and increase penalties for scammers that make illegal robocalls. Called TRACED, or the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, was introduced in late 2018 by Massachusetts Senators John Thune and Ed Markey. Gizmodo says that the bill “would extend the statute of limitations, so the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could take action on robocalls up to three years after the calls are made, rather than just a year.”
Robocalls drive American families crazy daily, Sen. Markey said in an earlier interview with Roll Call. “Scammers use these calls to successfully pray on vulnerable populations like elderly Americans who are sometimes less technologically savvy.”
Additionally, TRACED intends to encourage the FCC to work with other government partners, including the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to collaboratively work to “improve anti-robocall measures” and “prosecute offenders.”
End users protected under the bill are expected to play a part, too: the bill will require phone carriers to utilize call authentication programs to filter out scam calls. Programs like SHAKEN (Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) and STIR (Secure Telephone Identity Revisited), help cut down on robocalls by tapping into digital cryptographic certificates that verify certain calls are actually coming from where they say they are. From there, the call is passed to a telecom company for additional verification; if both companies are able to verify the number and its location are correct, it is marked as verified. If the call is not verified, it will appear to an end user as “unverified and therefore untrustworthy.”
The bill passed in a nearly unanimous vote, and is off to the House of Representatives for approval.