FCC looking at proposal to stop robotexts

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworsel testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee at Rayburn House office building on Capitol Hill on December 5, 2019 in Washington, DC.

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The Federal Communications Commission announced Monday that the FCC will soon consider a proposal to ban bot scripts.

Many consumers have become aware of fraudulent text messages, such as those claiming to be from a wireless carrier promoting bogus prizes or compensation.

The commission said it saw about 14,000 consumer complaints in 2020 about unsolicited text messages, an increase of nearly 146% from the previous year. The agency has already received more than 9,800 complaints from consumers about unwanted text messages this year.

Acting Federal Communications Commission Chair Jessica Rosenworsel told colleagues Monday about the creation of proposed rules to help stem the flow of bot texts, according to a press release. The proposed rulemaking requires wireless providers to block illegal texts.

The move comes after the agency started popping up robocalls, which can expose scams similar to automated texts. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) implemented several additional measures to protect consumers from robocalls after Congress passed the Criminal Enforcement Deterrence and Deterrence of Automated Telephone Abuse and Deterrence (TRACED) Act. The bill allowed the agency to impose greater penalties for illegal calls and strengthen rules that allow phone companies to initially block those calls.

The committee, which is currently made up of two Democrats, including Rosenworstl, and two Republicans, will need to vote to take on the rule-making process. If they do, according to the news release, the panel will explore ways to block bot texts at the network level and possibly enforce caller authentication standards on texts.

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