Legislation cracks down on robocalls

NY Capitol News

NEW YORK (WETM) — Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a package of legislation into law to combat robocalls in New York. The laws include requirements for telecommunication companies to block robocalls from certain numbers, validate a call is coming from the number a phone displays, proactively block certain numbers, and enhance state enforcement against robocallers.

“New Yorkers are fed up with annoying, predatory robocalls, and we’re taking action to stop them,” Hochul said in a written statement. “This legislation will enable telecom companies to prevent these calls from coming in in the first place, as well as empower our state government to ensure that voice service providers are validating who is making these calls so enforcement action can be taken against bad actors.” 

Hochul reportedly signed four separate measures Monday:

  • Legislation S.6267a/A.268a requires telecommunication companies to block robocalls from certain numbers to prevent unwanted robocalls across additional providers.
  • Legislation S.4281a/A.585a requires voice services providers to implement the STIR/SHAKEN call authentication framework to validate that a call is actually coming from the number it displays.
  • Legislation A.6267a/A.268a codifies in state law the provisions of a rule released by the FCC in 2017, that went into effect in June of 2021, that allows telecommunications companies to proactively block calls from certain numbers. These would include calls that are the most likely to be illegitimate, as they are coming from numbers that do not or cannot make outgoing calls. These types of numbers are indicative of “spoofing” schemes in which the true caller identity is masked behind a fake, invalid number. 
  • Legislation S.4281a/A.585a requires voice services providers to implement the STIR/SHAKEN call authentication framework, providing for enhanced state enforcement. The fraemwork uses cryptography to validate that a call is really from the number it displays, preventing illegal “spoofing” of numbers, and makes it much easier to trace illegal calls.

State Sen. Jeremy Cooney, who sponsored the bill, said, “Robocalls are disruptive, pervasive, and serve no benefit to families and communities. Blocking spam and robocalls can protect vulnerable consumer populations from predatory practices, in particular our seniors who have been targeted by scammers during the pandemic. Stopping as many illegitimate calls as possible will help New Yorkers feel safe when using their phones.”

“These bills are a significant step in ending the current and escalating scourge of robocalls. At the same time, they will help protect consumers from fraudulent and costly robocall schemes. Robocalls are a daily annoyance, No one wants to answer the phone anymore. You can’t even trust calls from local numbers,” said Assemblymember Amy Paulin. “By requiring providers to utilize technology that prevents spoofed numbers and proactively block calls that are clearly illegitimate, these bills are a critical step towards ending this nuisance.”

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