CONCORD — Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald joined attorneys general Josh Stein of North Carolina and Leslie Rutledge of Arkansas in Washington, D.C., in announcing that a bipartisan, public-private coalition of 51 attorneys general and 12 phone companies have adopted eight principles to fight illegal robocalls.
The agreement is intended to help protect phone users from illegal robocalls and make it easier for attorneys general to investigate and prosecute offenders.
“The number one job of all attorneys general is to ensure the protection of the citizens in our states,” said MacDonald. “Through the nationwide collaboration of attorneys general and industry leaders, we are setting forth a plan, in real time, to protect our citizens by combatting burdensome and dangerous robocalls. The principles announced today will address a technological problem with a technological solution and are aimed at preventing robocalls through call blocking, call labeling, and network improvements, as well as greater enforcement actions.”
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 in 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 the coalition of attorneys general to continue to optimize robocall protections as technology and scammer techniques change.
The coalition, led by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, New Hampshire Attorney General MacDonald, and Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, includes 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.