Attorney General Ellison joins 51 attorneys general and 12 companies in adopting principles to fight illegal robocalls
Prevention and enforcement at heart of historic agreement for protecting consumers
August 22, 2019 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison today announced that a bipartisan, public/private coalition of 51 attorneys general and 12 phone companies has adopted a set of principles to fight illegal robocalls. This agreement will help protect phone customers from illegal robocalls and make it easier for attorneys general to investigate and prosecute bad actors.
“No one is immune from illegal robocalls: I’ve gotten them myself and they drive Minnesotans crazy. No single step will end illegal robocalls, but today’s step is a historic one in protecting consumers from them,” Attorney General Ellison said. “I’m glad that these 12 companies have already pledged to adopt them and cooperate with attorneys general and law enforcement in every state. I strongly encourage every company in the industry to do the same today.”
The principles address the problem of illegal robocalls through prevention and enforcement.
Phone companies will work to prevent illegal robocalls by:
- Implementing call-blocking technology at the network level at no cost to customers.
- Making available to customers additional, free, easy-to-use call blocking and labeling tools.
- Implementing technology to authenticate that callers are coming from a valid source.
- Monitoring their networks for robocall traffic.
Phone companies will assist attorneys’ general anti-robocall enforcement by:
- Knowing who their customers are so bad actors can be identified and investigated.
- Investigating and taking action against suspicious callers — including notifying law enforcement and state attorneys general.
- Working with law enforcement, including state attorneys general, to trace the origins of illegal robocalls.
- Requiring telephone companies with which they contract to cooperate in traceback identification.
Going forward, phone companies will stay in close communication with Attorney General Ellison’s office and the coalition of attorneys general to continue to optimize robocall protections as technology and scammer techniques change.
"The principles offer a comprehensive set of best practices that recognizes that no single action or technology is sufficient to curb the scourge of illegal and unwanted robocalls,” said Henning Schulzrinne, former chief technology officer for the Federal Communications Commission and professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Columbia University. “I hope that all parts of the telecommunication industry, both large and small, will commit to rapidly implementing these principles and work with state and federal authorities to make people want to answer their phone again without fear of being defrauded or annoyed."
The coalition of attorneys general that Attorney General Ellison joined was led by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, and Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill and includes the attorneys general from all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
The coalition of companies includes AT&T, Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon, and Windstream.
The principles, definition of keys terms, and signatories to the principles are available on Attorney General Ellison’s website.