My fantasy: Robocall, meet Do Not Call Registry

My fantasy: Robocall, meet Do Not Call Registry

Summary: After a week of never-ending robocalls--including three on Sunday that interrupted dinner, a football game and a 2-year-old's going to bed ritual--I can't help but wonder whether we need a Do Not Robocall amendment to the National Do Not Call Registry.This idea isn't original--I've seen it mentioned on a few blogs--but the robocalls must stop.

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TOPICS: Tech Industry
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After a week of never-ending robocalls--including three on Sunday that interrupted dinner, a football game and a 2-year-old's going to bed ritual--I can't help but wonder whether we need a Do Not Robocall amendment to the National Do Not Call Registry.

This idea isn't original--I've seen it mentioned on a few blogs--but the robocalls must stop. The solution: Add political calls to the Do Not Call Registry. Chances of this solution happening: Nil (pols don't pass legislation to limit themselves).

So what's pushing me over the robocall edge? I happen to live in Pennsylvania where it has been non-stop election volunteers for the last two months. Memo to candidates: Pull your troops ASAP because we're really sick of them--especially the Canadian (!) election volunteer that knocked on my door Sunday (in between robocalls of course). He was a fine chap that should probably go home and work in his own country's elections (only half kidding).

After the latest barrage of robocalls I figured I'd look into why these calls exist. I found the following on the Do Not Registry's Q&A document:

Are calls from political organizations or calls soliciting for charities covered?

Political solicitations are not covered by the TSR at all, since they are not included in its definition of “telemarketing.” Charities are not covered by the requirements of the national registry. However, if a third-party telemarketer is calling on behalf of a charity, a consumer may ask not to receive any more calls from, or on behalf of, that specific charity. If a third-party telemarketer calls again on behalf of that charity, the telemarketer may be subject to a fine of up to $11,000.

But aren't political solicitations really just telemarketing? Telemarketers want you to buy something. Robocalls want you to buy a candidate. I don't want to be bothered by either. I looked into some call blocking technical details courtesy of How Stuff Works, but don't have the time to hack into my phone--or figure out the settings. Robocalls are like fighting spam without a good filter.  Mercifully, this election ends in a day.

Topic: Tech Industry

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16 comments
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  • Robo call registry

    It is too bad that politicians continue to exempt themselves from Do Not Call law.

    StopPoliticalCalls.org is fighting for the privacy of the American voter.

    1 - Creating a Political Do Not Call Registry
    2 - Testifying in the US Senate about robo calls (Sen. Feinstein?s Robocall Privacy Act)
    3 - Forcing states to enforce existing robo call laws (CA, MN, NJ, etc..)
    4 - Getting politicians to take a do not robo call pledge (7 have)

    As I testified at the US. Senate these robo calls are an epidemic and this election cycle ?phone spam? and are invading the privacy of All American Voters.

    Our members are taking a stand and saying enough is enough at the National Political Do Not Contact Registry at StopPoliticalCalls.org.

    Here is a quote from a member recently:

    "I'm a shift worker, working variable shifts. I depend on my sleep to be able to do my job safely and efficiently. I'm a locomotive engineer. Imagine the disaster were I to fall asleep, operating a freight train carrying hazardous materials in your neighborhood, due to fatigue from being awoken in my middle of the night on a continuous basis during election season. Please stop.."

    Learn more.

    Shaun Dakin
    CEO
    http://www.stoppoliticalcalls.org
    A non-profit fighting for the privacy of the American voter
    sdakin@...
  • RE: My fantasy: Robocall, meet Do Not Call Registry

    I absolutely agree.
    My tape answering machine has filled up several time because of those election calls.
    I will not change my voting ideals based on those or any phone calls so they might as well not call me.
    MoeFugger
  • RE: My fantasy: Robocall, meet Do Not Call Registry

    It's amazing to me how many things there is a demand for, that you CAN'T get!

    I asked the post office if they could stop delivering at least stuff that didn't have my name on it, even if I had to pay extra for this "service". They said nope and that they aren't "allowed" to. ???

    I want my phone to ring only if it's a phone number in my contact list. Any other call goes straight to the answering machine (where it is much easier to delete). Most everyone I mention this to says they'd like that also. So tell me again, why can't I buy that?
    ridingthewind
  • Ban the faux "polls"

    I hate the ones that start off sounding like a poll, but then offer up that one candidate secretly eats children or other falsehoods or half-truths.

    As for the volume of robocalls, it is getting ridiculous. I've just about stopped answering the phone unless I recognize the caller's number.
    bmgoodman
  • Heaven forbid the right to select your political

    leaders actually inconveniences you.
    frgough
    • Heaven forbid

      you use some logic.

      1) I don't need six calls a day for three weeks with 100% drama and 0% truth to select anybody.

      2) It's a gross misappropriation of funds and effort. A robocall is about as effective as a lawn sign..that is, it isn't.

      3) It's ridiculous for those in power to exempt themselves from laws, dig?
      beoz
    • No, Heaven forbid

      that someone actually base their voting decision on the lies from and automated machine.

      They are effective in letting me know who to vote against as soon as they identify their sponsoring organization. Annoying twit repubican pukes.
      zclayton2
  • RE: My fantasy: Robocall, meet Do Not Call Registry

    First of all the politicians will never go for it be it Democrat or Republicans. In addition I think prerecorded calls are a local phenomenon, in Oregon we are making calls for McCain so be gentle with us. We are just Volunteers.
    Richardbz
  • What robocalls appear to be doing . . .

    "However, if a third-party telemarketer is calling on behalf of a charity, a consumer may ask not to receive any more calls from, or on behalf of, that specific charity."

    . . . and if a robot calls, you can't do that, can you? Hence why they use robots. You literally can't ask to stop receiving calls from them.

    The things these companies do to get around the law :(.
    CobraA1
  • My dark fantasy: TelePoeticJustice

    There is a way...a dark way, not for the feint of heart, but I'll bet it'd go like wildfire. I call it 'TelePoeticJustice'. Here's how I envision it: create a forum somewhere, specific to the purpose, where members who are fed up with telemarketers/robocallers can post the phone numbers of said offenders (almost always 1-800s) and the entire membership would then call said number en mass tying up their phone lines with time wasting foolishness (within the bounds of the law of course). Pain speaks louder than words. Losing money and having your call center melt before your eyes is painful.

    The beauty of this approach:

    1. It's legal (I think)

    2. It'd give frustrated victims a little relief by turning the tables on telemarketers/robocallers

    3. Once membership reaches critical mass, telemarketers/robocallers will be the ones begging for a do not return our call list and legislation
    gpetrant@...
  • RE: My fantasy: Robocall, meet Do Not Call Registry

    It is real simple, put an incorrect phone number on your voter registration - which is a major source of phone numbers for political parties.
    dasick@...
  • The Telezapper...

    The telezapper used to be great for killing telemarketers that used robocallers.

    Every time the phone was picked up, the telezapper would sound the first tone of the three-tone sequence that is used to designate a disconnected number. Remember hearing those tones if you mis-dialed? The robocaller would ascertain that the number had been disconnected, would hang up as soon as it heard it, and remove your number from their lists. I even left a pause in my answering machine message so that the tone could sound effectively.

    My only complaint is that the telemarketers must have bought out the company because it was so effective, because I can't seem to find them anywhere in stores anymore. The single tone sounding on even legitimate calls wasn't enough of a deterrent for me to not use the device considering its success. Too bad a lightning strike wiped out my old one...
    Zorched
  • You're talking about a DOS attack.

    I'm sorry, but as nice as it would be to drop some poetic justice on these guys, we do <i>not</i> need to legitimize DOS attacks.

    EDIT: Ack. That was supposed to be a reply to "My dark fantasy: TelePoeticJustice"
    masonwheeler
  • RE: My fantasy: Robocall, meet Do Not Call Registry

    i dropped the landline long ago and dont answer any call that doesnt show up as someone in my address book. all i need to do now is disable the voice mail and i'm set!
    troutsoup
  • RE: My fantasy: Robocall, meet Do Not Call Registry

    The pre-recorded sales calls ("Robo Calls") have been banned by the FTC for two years now and the government agency made another change recently to the regulation by requiring to include an optout way if a recorded message is played http://800notes.com/articles/News.aspx/FpS7YqaDXgCESAjK0NdXoQ . However, politicians are protected under free speech and hence are exempt.
    webworm
  • RE: My fantasy: Robocall, meet Do Not Call Registry

    I have found that the do not call registry is really a joke. If you read it, all it does is maintain a list, and makes it available to those telemarketers. If there is any abuse and you "complain" to the DNC website, all they do it maintain another list of complaint to forward to a state attorney general, should a case be filed. They do not actually growl at the telemarketer, they just maintain lists. And with all the loopholes, you still get telemarketers and you have only the illusion of protection from the FTC. I pay for my phone service for my use and convenience, NOT for someone to badger me to buy, contribute, volunteer, or whatever. Why is the law on the side of the abuser and not the victims?
    david@...