Sen. Charles Schumer: Robocall-blocking tech should be available to all

Sen. Charles Schumer: Robocall-blocking tech should be available to all

The senator asked the Federal Trade Commission to pressure landline and mobile phone service providers.

U.S. Sen.  Charles Schumer (D-NY) holds a press conference at his midtown Manhattan office March 6, 2016, calling on phone companies, major landline and mobile phone carriers,  to make robocall-blocking technology available to all consumers.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) holds a press conference at his midtown Manhattan office March 6, 2016, calling on phone companies, major landline and mobile phone carriers, to make robocall-blocking technology available to all consumers. Photo Credit: Christa Lopez

Sen. Charles Schumer on Sunday said all phone companies should make robocall-blocking technology available to their customers.

The senator asked the Federal Trade Commission to pressure landline and mobile phone service providers to offer the option, but said he would turn to legislation to make it mandatory if all else failed.

Some service providers, such as Time Warner Cable, offer access to the Long Island-based robocall blocking company Nomorobo, which screens incoming calls for customers.

Schumer wants all phone companies to offer the service and also make customers aware that it’s available.

“Everyone has been annoyed by these robocalls,” Schumer said. “You can be having dinner, you can be in the middle of an important conversation and they interrupt you.”

Robocalls are automated phone calls typically placed by telemarketers that deliver recorded messages when the person being called picks up the phone.

To block them, phone owners can register on a federal Do Not Call list, but Schumer said telemarketers have found loopholes to ignore the list and have developed ways to disguise their caller IDs.

There were 3.57 million complaints about Do Not Call violations in the United States in 2015, according to Schumer’s office.

Alison Fox