Home » Attorney General Conway urges FCC to allow phone companies to use call-blocking technology

Attorney General Conway urges FCC to allow phone companies to use call-blocking technology

Kentucky joins 38 other states in signing letter

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 10, 2014) — Attorney General Jack Conway urged the Federal Communications Commission to allow phone companies to utilize call-blocking technologies that would better protect consumers from unwanted calls and scams.

telephoneCall-blocking technologies, such as “NoMoRobo,” “Call Control,” and “Telemarketing Guard,” have been developed to enable phone carriers to identify and block unwelcome sales calls at their customers’ request. However, some phone carriers have not implemented this technology, in part because of the belief that federal law prevents carriers from blocking calls on their consumers’ behalf.

In a letter signed by 38 other state and territorial attorneys general, Attorney General Conway filed official comments today with the FCC.  The letter formally requests an opinion from the FCC regarding phone companies’ legal ability to implement call-blocking technology.

“My Office of Consumer Protection and I are committed to protecting Kentucky consumers from businesses that engage in harassing and illegal telemarketing,” Conway said. “Just as spam filters have helped reduce the amount of unwanted emails users receive, the adoption of call-blocking filters by phone companies may very well be an effective tool that can be used to help solve the telemarketing problem.”

Phone carriers have expressed concern that the FCC’s legal framework prohibits phone companies from determining which calls should be allowed to go through to a customer and which should be blocked.  Last year, in explaining the obstacles that phone carriers face in implementing call-blocking technologies, US Telecom wrote to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance that “the FCC has concluded that call blocking is an unjust and unreasonable practice under section 201(b) of the Communications Act of 1934.”

Conway encourages Kentuckians to sign up for Kentucky’s No Call List, which helps deter unwanted and fraudulent calls and text messages, by visiting nocall.ky.gov. Consumers who are registered on the No Call List and receive an unwanted call can also file a complaint on the website.  In 2013, General Conway’s Office of Consumer Protection received nearly 1,300 complaints about unwanted calls.

States and territories that signed the letter to the FCC include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.