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Indiana AG leads fight against robocalling

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Attorney General Curtis Hill announced last week that he is leading a bipartisan and public/private coalition of 51 attorneys general and 12 telecommunications companies that have agreed to adopt eight principles to fight illegal robocalls. This agreement will help protect phone users from illegal robocalls and make it easier for attorneys general to investigate and prosecute violators.

"These companies are stepping up to the plate and committing themselves to be part of the solution," Attorney General Hill said. "Collaboration will be a key component of our success going forward in stopping illegal robocallsI am eager to continue working with our state, federal, and private-sector partners to improve the lives of all our citizens."

The eight principles address the robocall problem in two main ways: 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 free, easy-to-use call blocking and labeling tools.
  • Implementing technology to authenticate that callare originating 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, these telephone companies will stay in close communication with the coalition of attorneys general to continue optimizing 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, Levi 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 was led by Attorney General Hill along with North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald. It 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. 

A video message from Attorney General Hill may be viewed at this link.

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