Telecommunications technology is booming, but with the positive developments have come some negatives, including new ways to skirt laws banning illegal sales calls.
Such prohibited calls include robotic sales calls and solicitation calls to names on the national Do Not Call Registry. In an effort to address the illicit “robocalls” — those using automatic dialing and speaking — the Federal Trade Commission recently issued a challenge offering $50,000 to anyone who could find a way to block the unlawful calls. The deadline for entries expired last week, and a panel of judges is wading through more than 370 valid submissions.
In the 2012 budget year, the FTC received 3.84 million complaints nationwide from registrants on the do-not-call list. Of those complaints, 2.26 million involved a recorded message, according to the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry’s data book. In Iowa, residents on the list filed 30,737 complaints in the last budget year, up from 19,650 in 2011 and 12,089 in 2010.
Telecommunications and technology experts in Iowa say complaints are on the rise as illegal callers are discovering new and simpler ways to blast residents with telephonic sales pitches.
Although most say a tool to block those calls would be welcome, they believe creating one is almost impossible. And, some say, it should be avoided because of First Amendment issues and because some robocalls are beneficial.
Do you think Do Not Call rules should be changed to address the rapid growth of “robocalls”?