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每年拨出480亿次诈骗电话,美国成为电信诈骗重灾区

今年1月,美国的自动呼叫电话数量增长了近4%。

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我们很多人都有过这样的经历:在某个周一的早上,你接到了一通电话,电话里明显是一段提前录制好的声音,向你提供关于汽车保修或者关于信用卡的“重要信息”(当然,通常所谓的保修政策和信用卡全然是虚构的)。这些自动呼叫电话已经成了现代生活的一种“瘟疫”。美国联邦通信委员会(Federal Communications Commission)和联邦贸易委员会(Federal Trade Commission)等政府机构,都将这些骚扰电话列为2020年的头号投诉事由。而且这个问题还愈演愈烈,根据根据通讯公司YouMail的数据,今年1月,美国的自动呼叫电话数量增长了近4%,而且全年有望达到480亿次。

值得注意的是,一年多以前,美国国会刚刚通过了一项法律,试图通过一系列技术和法律手段,遏制自动呼叫电话高发态势。然而自动呼叫电话为什么不减反增?以至于大多数美国人除非认出号码,否则绝不再接陌生电话?

简而言之,每天数以亿计的自动呼叫电话背后,隐藏着一个大赚其财的黑灰产业,执法的速度始终没有跟上它的发展速度。另外,一些大企业对自动呼叫电话的纵容绥靖也难辞其咎。还有就是一些联邦机构的缓慢拖沓,他们本可以在执法方面做得更多。

这些电话是谁打来的?

曾几何时,如果你想搞电话营销业务,你就得租一个大仓库,在里面搞一堆小隔间,装上几公里长的电话线。而现在,你在自家的客厅里就能够达到同样的效果。

亚利桑那州的尼克·帕伦博就是做这项工作的,他注册了好几家公司,在自己家中运营着几千条基于互联网的电话线路,然后向需要购买自动呼叫电话服务的客户收费——这些客户有不少都在海外。据《华尔街日报》(Wall Street Journal)报道,光是帕伦博的几家公司就给美国的消费者打过好几亿个电话,其中很多电话都冒充了社保公司。

2019年,帕伦博因为涉嫌诈骗相关指控而被联邦警方逮捕。去年夏天,他与美国司法部(Justice Department)达成协议,他和他的妻子从此将被禁止从事自动呼叫电话业务。然而时至今日,自动诈骗电话仍然不断轰炸着每个美国人的神经,充分说明了帕伦博远远不是唯一一个纵容骗子的公司老板。

像帕伦博这种“中间商”并非电诈骗局的发起者,那些发起者往往是位于印度、菲律宾、墨西哥等国的电诈窝点,其目的就是绕过美国监管部门视线,窃取公民个人信息和信用卡信息。

但是要把电话打到你的手机上,他们就需要美国的接线商来转接他们的电话。这些企业通常也为美国境内有关机构、企业提供超低成本的电话服务——比如竞选拉票电话,不过在利益面前,他们很可能会对搞电信诈骗的客户睁一只眼闭一只眼。

当然,为了确保让你接到诈骗电话,你的电信服务提供商必须也得配合才行。在美国,这些电信运营商包括威瑞森(Verizon)、AT&T和T-Mobile等等。那么,这些运营商为什么不打击自动呼叫电话呢?

公允地说,他们也并非没有努力。据电信专家、律师格雷格·古伊斯介绍,这些运营商是有动机打击自动呼叫电话的——这一定程度上也是因为老百姓对电信诈骗深恶痛绝,但同时也是因为很多消费者不堪其扰,选择停掉了固定电话服务,而固话业务对于AT&T和威瑞森来说仍然是一个重要收入来源(对T-Mobile则没有那么重要)。

另外,运营商们一向不大敢切断自动呼叫电话。首先是因为电信行业的职责使命是保障每一通电话的完整,同时,他们也担心自己会因为屏蔽电话而被起诉。不过最新的联邦自动呼叫电话法已经降低了运营商的法律风险,并且鼓励他们采用通话识别技术——这就是为什么越来越多的消费者会在手机上接到“疑似诈骗电话”的提醒信息。

玛格特·桑德斯是全美消费者法律中心(National Consumer Law Center)的一名律师,她认为,运营商在屏蔽自动呼叫电话上已经有所进步了。她尤其表扬了威瑞森,不过她也表示,运营商们可以做的还有很多。

桑德斯认为,如果运营商需要对诈骗电话承担连带法律责任,那么当前的电诈形势或将显著改善,因为运营商将有巨大动力去遏止电诈。不过鉴于电信行业拥有巨大政治影响力,这个方案可能在国会根本就通不过。

桑德斯同时认为,利用技术手段阻断自动呼叫电话,并非是一件很难做到的事情。

“我不想说具体应该采用哪些技术,但现在我们甚至有了登陆火星和给心脏做手术的能力,所以我们也能够有足够的技术去做这件事情。”

新法案的大漏洞

2019年,美国国会通过了《反自动呼叫电话滥用法》(Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence),该法案获得了两党的共同支持,共和党和民主党都表示要坚决打击电诈行为。虽然该法案旨在识别和打击电信诈骗从业者,但它却并未堵住一些重要漏洞。

这些漏洞为哪些自动呼叫电话可以被豁免提供了回旋余地。比如,很多自动催收债务的电话仍然被定义为合法(这是金融服务业常用的催收手段),各种被归为与选举或政治相关的电话也是如此。

另外,自动呼叫电话的拨打者还能够声称,顾客是同意接到这些电话的,以来此来规避法律。对消费者来说,他们可能无意间真的表示了同意——比如他们在网上勾选了一个方框,允许一家公司联系他们。而在许多情况下,这种许可也赋予了一家公司向第三方出售该“许可”的权利,包括将数据卖给所谓的“数据掮客”行业。结果是,一旦消费者给予了这样的许可,它就让各路推广人员拥有了持续纠缠消费者的法律“护身符”。

此外还有企业的律师,他们会不遗余力地在法庭上钻任何法律的空子。最近的一个例子是皇家海洋邮轮公司(Royal Seas Cruises),今年,该公司有惊无险地逃过了一起1.23亿美元的集体诉讼案。消费者指控该公司给他们拨打了几百万个电话,推销他们的度假产品。为了洗脱自己,该公司称这些电话不是它自己打的,而是由第三方机构打的。从常识来看,这种区别可能并不重要——哪个第三方机构会在客户企业不知情或者不同意的情况下,开展大规模的自动呼叫电话推广活动呢?这个借口无疑很荒谬。但从法律角度,它却说服了一位联邦法官。

桑德斯等人认为,美国国会需要收紧这些漏洞,使相关企业不至于太过恣意妄为。同时她指出,一些大型行业背地里反对真正的改革,因为对它们来说,自动呼叫电话正是一种廉价且有效的营销手段。

最后还有一个问题:有关政府部门是否已经在竭尽所能地遏止和打击自动呼叫电话。美国联邦通信委员会确实已经对相关责任企业处以一系列巨额罚款,但在古伊斯看来,这些罚款无异于杯水车薪。他认为,这主要是由于美国联邦通信委员会与负责起诉和执行判决的美国司法部之间缺乏协调导致的。

随着拜登政府上台,美国联邦通信委员会也迎来了一位新主席,这种情况可能会有所改变。在特朗普时期,特朗普任命的美国联邦通信委员会主席阿吉特·帕伊虽然也开展了相关工作,但很多人都认为,他的工作方向更有利于企业,而非日常消费者关注的问题。虽然一些公共利益组织宣称,帕伊已经采取了一些措施打击自动呼叫电话滥用问题,但还是有一些人质疑他的步子迈得太小。

一位要求匿名的律师在谈及帕伊时说:“他相对比较年轻,他希望在公共服务行业有比较长的职业生涯,但他(在打击自动呼叫电话上)的激进做法,可能已经阻碍了他的事业发展。他害怕激怒美国商会(Chamber of Commerce)。”(帕伊本人并未回应我们通过社交媒体发出的置评请求。)

对拜登选择杰西卡·罗森沃塞尔担任美国联邦通信委员会负责人的决定,不少消费者团体都感到了振奋。他们认为,罗森沃塞尔应该更有决心整治那些有可能阻碍对自动呼叫电话采取更严格措施的腐败利益问题。

不过,这些消费者权益人士也表示,罗森沃塞尔可能会更关心其他事情,比如在疫情期间为低收入儿童提供可靠的互联网服务。虽然在罗森沃塞尔上任后的首次会议上,她并未提到自动呼叫电话的问题,但美国联邦通信委员会的一位发言人表示,该问题仍然是罗森沃塞尔将要解决的优先事项。

该发言人称:“自动呼叫电话已经失控了,而且近年来持续呈上升趋势……保护消费者是主席的首要任务之一。”该发言人还表示,美国联邦通信委员会正在就当前和将来的打击政策进行研究。

不过在美国,自动呼叫电话问题涉及多股经济和政治力量博弈,因此,自动呼叫电话乱象并不会很快消失。对少数确实想收到汽车保修推广信息的美国人来说,这或许不是什么大问题。但是在可见的将来,大多数美国人仍将不得不忍受这些麻烦。(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

我们很多人都有过这样的经历:在某个周一的早上,你接到了一通电话,电话里明显是一段提前录制好的声音,向你提供关于汽车保修或者关于信用卡的“重要信息”(当然,通常所谓的保修政策和信用卡全然是虚构的)。这些自动呼叫电话已经成了现代生活的一种“瘟疫”。美国联邦通信委员会(Federal Communications Commission)和联邦贸易委员会(Federal Trade Commission)等政府机构,都将这些骚扰电话列为2020年的头号投诉事由。而且这个问题还愈演愈烈,根据根据通讯公司YouMail的数据,今年1月,美国的自动呼叫电话数量增长了近4%,而且全年有望达到480亿次。

值得注意的是,一年多以前,美国国会刚刚通过了一项法律,试图通过一系列技术和法律手段,遏制自动呼叫电话高发态势。然而自动呼叫电话为什么不减反增?以至于大多数美国人除非认出号码,否则绝不再接陌生电话?

简而言之,每天数以亿计的自动呼叫电话背后,隐藏着一个大赚其财的黑灰产业,执法的速度始终没有跟上它的发展速度。另外,一些大企业对自动呼叫电话的纵容绥靖也难辞其咎。还有就是一些联邦机构的缓慢拖沓,他们本可以在执法方面做得更多。

这些电话是谁打来的?

曾几何时,如果你想搞电话营销业务,你就得租一个大仓库,在里面搞一堆小隔间,装上几公里长的电话线。而现在,你在自家的客厅里就能够达到同样的效果。

亚利桑那州的尼克·帕伦博就是做这项工作的,他注册了好几家公司,在自己家中运营着几千条基于互联网的电话线路,然后向需要购买自动呼叫电话服务的客户收费——这些客户有不少都在海外。据《华尔街日报》(Wall Street Journal)报道,光是帕伦博的几家公司就给美国的消费者打过好几亿个电话,其中很多电话都冒充了社保公司。

2019年,帕伦博因为涉嫌诈骗相关指控而被联邦警方逮捕。去年夏天,他与美国司法部(Justice Department)达成协议,他和他的妻子从此将被禁止从事自动呼叫电话业务。然而时至今日,自动诈骗电话仍然不断轰炸着每个美国人的神经,充分说明了帕伦博远远不是唯一一个纵容骗子的公司老板。

像帕伦博这种“中间商”并非电诈骗局的发起者,那些发起者往往是位于印度、菲律宾、墨西哥等国的电诈窝点,其目的就是绕过美国监管部门视线,窃取公民个人信息和信用卡信息。

但是要把电话打到你的手机上,他们就需要美国的接线商来转接他们的电话。这些企业通常也为美国境内有关机构、企业提供超低成本的电话服务——比如竞选拉票电话,不过在利益面前,他们很可能会对搞电信诈骗的客户睁一只眼闭一只眼。

当然,为了确保让你接到诈骗电话,你的电信服务提供商必须也得配合才行。在美国,这些电信运营商包括威瑞森(Verizon)、AT&T和T-Mobile等等。那么,这些运营商为什么不打击自动呼叫电话呢?

公允地说,他们也并非没有努力。据电信专家、律师格雷格·古伊斯介绍,这些运营商是有动机打击自动呼叫电话的——这一定程度上也是因为老百姓对电信诈骗深恶痛绝,但同时也是因为很多消费者不堪其扰,选择停掉了固定电话服务,而固话业务对于AT&T和威瑞森来说仍然是一个重要收入来源(对T-Mobile则没有那么重要)。

另外,运营商们一向不大敢切断自动呼叫电话。首先是因为电信行业的职责使命是保障每一通电话的完整,同时,他们也担心自己会因为屏蔽电话而被起诉。不过最新的联邦自动呼叫电话法已经降低了运营商的法律风险,并且鼓励他们采用通话识别技术——这就是为什么越来越多的消费者会在手机上接到“疑似诈骗电话”的提醒信息。

玛格特·桑德斯是全美消费者法律中心(National Consumer Law Center)的一名律师,她认为,运营商在屏蔽自动呼叫电话上已经有所进步了。她尤其表扬了威瑞森,不过她也表示,运营商们可以做的还有很多。

桑德斯认为,如果运营商需要对诈骗电话承担连带法律责任,那么当前的电诈形势或将显著改善,因为运营商将有巨大动力去遏止电诈。不过鉴于电信行业拥有巨大政治影响力,这个方案可能在国会根本就通不过。

桑德斯同时认为,利用技术手段阻断自动呼叫电话,并非是一件很难做到的事情。

“我不想说具体应该采用哪些技术,但现在我们甚至有了登陆火星和给心脏做手术的能力,所以我们也能够有足够的技术去做这件事情。”

新法案的大漏洞

2019年,美国国会通过了《反自动呼叫电话滥用法》(Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence),该法案获得了两党的共同支持,共和党和民主党都表示要坚决打击电诈行为。虽然该法案旨在识别和打击电信诈骗从业者,但它却并未堵住一些重要漏洞。

这些漏洞为哪些自动呼叫电话可以被豁免提供了回旋余地。比如,很多自动催收债务的电话仍然被定义为合法(这是金融服务业常用的催收手段),各种被归为与选举或政治相关的电话也是如此。

另外,自动呼叫电话的拨打者还能够声称,顾客是同意接到这些电话的,以来此来规避法律。对消费者来说,他们可能无意间真的表示了同意——比如他们在网上勾选了一个方框,允许一家公司联系他们。而在许多情况下,这种许可也赋予了一家公司向第三方出售该“许可”的权利,包括将数据卖给所谓的“数据掮客”行业。结果是,一旦消费者给予了这样的许可,它就让各路推广人员拥有了持续纠缠消费者的法律“护身符”。

此外还有企业的律师,他们会不遗余力地在法庭上钻任何法律的空子。最近的一个例子是皇家海洋邮轮公司(Royal Seas Cruises),今年,该公司有惊无险地逃过了一起1.23亿美元的集体诉讼案。消费者指控该公司给他们拨打了几百万个电话,推销他们的度假产品。为了洗脱自己,该公司称这些电话不是它自己打的,而是由第三方机构打的。从常识来看,这种区别可能并不重要——哪个第三方机构会在客户企业不知情或者不同意的情况下,开展大规模的自动呼叫电话推广活动呢?这个借口无疑很荒谬。但从法律角度,它却说服了一位联邦法官。

桑德斯等人认为,美国国会需要收紧这些漏洞,使相关企业不至于太过恣意妄为。同时她指出,一些大型行业背地里反对真正的改革,因为对它们来说,自动呼叫电话正是一种廉价且有效的营销手段。

最后还有一个问题:有关政府部门是否已经在竭尽所能地遏止和打击自动呼叫电话。美国联邦通信委员会确实已经对相关责任企业处以一系列巨额罚款,但在古伊斯看来,这些罚款无异于杯水车薪。他认为,这主要是由于美国联邦通信委员会与负责起诉和执行判决的美国司法部之间缺乏协调导致的。

随着拜登政府上台,美国联邦通信委员会也迎来了一位新主席,这种情况可能会有所改变。在特朗普时期,特朗普任命的美国联邦通信委员会主席阿吉特·帕伊虽然也开展了相关工作,但很多人都认为,他的工作方向更有利于企业,而非日常消费者关注的问题。虽然一些公共利益组织宣称,帕伊已经采取了一些措施打击自动呼叫电话滥用问题,但还是有一些人质疑他的步子迈得太小。

一位要求匿名的律师在谈及帕伊时说:“他相对比较年轻,他希望在公共服务行业有比较长的职业生涯,但他(在打击自动呼叫电话上)的激进做法,可能已经阻碍了他的事业发展。他害怕激怒美国商会(Chamber of Commerce)。”(帕伊本人并未回应我们通过社交媒体发出的置评请求。)

对拜登选择杰西卡·罗森沃塞尔担任美国联邦通信委员会负责人的决定,不少消费者团体都感到了振奋。他们认为,罗森沃塞尔应该更有决心整治那些有可能阻碍对自动呼叫电话采取更严格措施的腐败利益问题。

不过,这些消费者权益人士也表示,罗森沃塞尔可能会更关心其他事情,比如在疫情期间为低收入儿童提供可靠的互联网服务。虽然在罗森沃塞尔上任后的首次会议上,她并未提到自动呼叫电话的问题,但美国联邦通信委员会的一位发言人表示,该问题仍然是罗森沃塞尔将要解决的优先事项。

该发言人称:“自动呼叫电话已经失控了,而且近年来持续呈上升趋势……保护消费者是主席的首要任务之一。”该发言人还表示,美国联邦通信委员会正在就当前和将来的打击政策进行研究。

不过在美国,自动呼叫电话问题涉及多股经济和政治力量博弈,因此,自动呼叫电话乱象并不会很快消失。对少数确实想收到汽车保修推广信息的美国人来说,这或许不是什么大问题。但是在可见的将来,大多数美国人仍将不得不忍受这些麻烦。(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

For many of us, every week begins the same way: a Monday morning phone call with a recorded voice offering “important information” about car warranties or credit cards (often, warranties or credit cards that are entirely fictional). These robocalls are a plague of modern life—consumer agencies including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission identified them as the No. 1 complaint in 2020—and they’re getting worse. According to communications firm YouMail, robocalls were up nearly 4% in January and are on pace to number 48 billion for the year.

Remarkably, all of this is occurring after Congress passed a law, just over a year ago, intended to stamp out the problem with a series of new technical and legal remedies. So what happened? Why have robocalls become so bad that most Americans no longer pick up the phone unless they recognize the number?

The short answer is that a shadowy auto-dialing industry, which makes good money by unleashing millions of calls a day, has proved adept at staying ahead of the law. A longer answer would also point the finger at tacit support for robocalling from big businesses (some more legitimate than others) and foot-dragging by federal agencies who could do more to enforce the law.

Who is making all those robocalls?

Once upon a time, running a telemarketing operation meant renting out a big warehouse and filling it with cubicles and miles of telephone wire. Now you can do it from your living room.

That’s what Nick Palumbo did. The Arizona man ran several companies that charged robocallers, many of them based overseas, to relay the calls they initiate via thousands of Internet-based phone lines he runs from his home. According to the Wall Street Journal, Palumbo’s businesses alone have routed hundreds of millions of calls to U.S. consumers, including many from Social Security impostors.

Palumbo was arrested by federal agents in 2019 on fraud-related charges, and last summer he entered an agreement with the Justice Department barring him and his wife from running robocalling operations. But as the ongoing flood of robocalls attest, Palumbo is far from alone in enabling the scammers.

These middlemen are not the original source of the Social Security or auto warranty calls, which typically originate from scam shops in India, the Philippines, Mexico, and other overseas countries—fraudulent operations that aim to harvest personal data and credit card info while remaining effectively beyond the reach of U.S. regulators.

But to reach your cell phone, they need a U.S.-based operator to relay their calls. Such companies provide a hyper–low-cost service for organizations, including legitimate ones such as political campaigns, to run phone campaigns—but may turn a blind eye to clients who are running scams.

For the call to reach your cell phone, of course, it has to be completed by your service provider, which for most of us is Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile. Why don’t these giants put a stop to the robocalls?

By all accounts, they’re trying. According to Greg Guice, a lawyer and telecom expert with Public Knowledge, the big phone companies have an incentive to kneecap the robocallers—in part because of the public outrage, but also because robocalls spur consumers to terminate landline service, which is still a big source of revenue for AT&T and Verizon (and a minor one for T-Mobile).

Meanwhile, the phone giants are learning to overcome a traditional aversion to cutting off calls. That aversion stems in part from the industry’s longtime mission to complete every call, and also from fears they will be sued for blocking calls. The new federal robocall law, however, reduces phone carriers’ legal exposure and also encourages the use of call authentication technology—which is why more consumers are seeing messages like “Scam likely” on their phone displays.

Margot Saunders, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center, says phone carriers are getting better at choking off robocalls—she praised Verizon in particular—but says they could be doing a lot more.

Saunders suggests that the robocall situation would dramatically improve if phone carriers were legally responsible for the nuisance calls. If this were the case, the carriers would have an enormous incentive to put an end to them. But the industry’s political clout means this has been a nonstarter in Congress.

Saunders also rejects the idea that a technological solution to block robocalls is too difficult.

“I’m not going to say what the technology should be. But we have the capacity to go to Mars and perform open heart surgery, so we could come up with tech to do this,” she says.

A new law’s big loopholes

In 2019, Congress passed the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (or TRACED) Act. The law passed with broad bipartisan support: Both Republicans and Democrats are eager to claim they’re fighting robocalls. But while the law is supposed to make it easier to identify and penalize robocallers, it also failed to close some major loopholes.

These loopholes provide wiggle room when it comes to defining what activities can be exempt from robocalling prohibitions. For instance, many automated debt collection calls remain legal (a sop to the financial services industry), and so are various calls classified as election- or politics-related.

Meanwhile, robocallers can get around the law by claiming a customer has given consent to receive them. Unfortunately for consumers, such consent can arise inadvertently—for instance, if they’ve ticked a box on the Internet giving a company permission to contact them. In many cases, that permission also gives the company the right to sell that “consent” to third parties, including the data broker industry. The upshot is, once such a permission has been granted, it can serve as a legal backstop for marketers to pester consumers for years.

Then there are the corporate lawyers, who are quick to push any potential loophole in court. One recent example is Royal Seas Cruises, which this year wriggled out of a $123 million class action lawsuit that accused the company of making millions of robocalls flogging vacations. In order to beat the rap, the company claimed it had not made the calls, but that a third-party agency had done so. As a matter of common sense, the distinction may not matter—it seems absurd to think an agency would embark on a massive robocalling campaign without the company’s knowledge or permission—but, from a legal perspective, the argument persuaded a federal judge.

Saunders and others claim Congress needs to tighten all these loopholes so that companies are less tempted to push the boundaries. Meanwhile, she suggests that other big industries are quietly opposed to serious reform, since robocalls can be a cheap and effective form of marketing.

Finally, there is the question of whether government agencies are doing all they can to punish and deter robocallers. While the FCC has imposed a series of whopping fines on companies behind the robocall epidemic, Guice of Public Knowledge says the government has collected only a pittance—less than 2¢ on the dollar. He attributes this to a lack of coordination between the FCC and the Justice Department, which is tasked with enforcing judgments and prosecuting scofflaws.

This may change as a new chair takes the helm of the FCC under the Biden administration. Previously, President Trump’s appointee to the agency, Ajit Pai, pursued an agenda many perceived as favoring business over everyday consumer concerns. Though public interest groups say Pai took steps to address the robocalling nuisance, some question whether he was too timid.

“This was a relatively young man who wanted a long career in public service, and that career might have been hampered by an aggressive approach [to robocalling]. He was afraid to piss off the Chamber of Commerce,” said a Washington, D.C., lawyer who asked for anonymity in order to discuss Pai. (Pai did not respond to a request for comment sent via social media.)

Consumer groups are heartened by President Biden’s choice of FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to serve as acting head of the agency. They described her as more willing to confront the corrupt interests that may be impeding stricter measures against robocalls.

Nonetheless, consumer advocates also cautioned that Rosenworcel will likely be preoccupied with other matters, including the struggle to provide low-income children with reliable Internet access during the pandemic. While robocalls were not on the agenda during her inaugural meeting as chair, an FCC spokesperson says they are a priority for Rosenworcel.

“Robocalls are out of control and have been on the rise in recent years…Consumer protection is a top priority for the acting chairwoman,” said the spokesperson, adding that the agency is in the midst of a review about its past and future policies for fighting robocalls.

The bottom line is that a wide variety of economic and political forces suggest that robocalls are not going away soon. This may not pose a problem for the handful of Americans eager to hear automated warranty pitches. But everyone else will have to put up with the nuisance for the foreseeable future.

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