Google, Apple, AT&T, and others join robocall 'strike force'

Stopping robocallers will take 'more than individual company initiatives and one-off blocking apps', AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said.

Representatives from Google, Apple, AT&T, Verizon, Nokia, and several other tech companies convened in Washington, DC on Friday for the first meeting of a "strike force" designed to combat robocalls.

The companies, 33 in all, came together at the request of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Tom Wheeler. Consumers complain to the FCC about robocalls and telemarketing calls more than anything else.

The Federal Trade Commission manages a "do not call" registry, and companies within the communications ecosystem offer some remedies -- iPhone users can block numbers, for instance, while call-blocking apps are available for Android phones.

Addressing the issue, however, "is going to require more than individual company initiatives and one-off blocking apps," AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in his opening remarks. "If we truly want to deal with this, the entire ecosystem has to work together -- carriers, device makers, OS developers, network designers."

The companies comprising the "strike force" have committed to taking certain steps, such as conforming to VOIP caller ID verification standards when they're made available and evaluating the feasibility of a "Do Not Originate" list. The group is expected to report back to the FCC on its progress by October 19.


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