Apple and Google join government 'strike force' to crack down on robocalls

Government partnering with businessses to prevent robocalls
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- For the first time, the federal government is partnering with the biggest tech, cable and telecom companies to battle a common enemy: robocalls.

Robocalls were once confined to landlines.

"We just got a lot of calls we have to hang up on or say we're not interested so we only use our cell phone and we did away with our home phone," explained Alice Zhang of Palo Alto.

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But now the intrusive calls are popping up on cell phones, too. It's against the law to call consumers with a commercial message if they're on the do not call list established back in 2003.

"I think the laws are largely irrelevant if there are ways to break it with impunity and not get caught. So, the only way to get at this problem is to use technology that can either block these calls or authenticate who is actually making them so that the law can actually be enforced," suggests Larry Magid, a technology analyst.

That's why the FCC has formed a new Robocall Strike Force, a high level task force partnering with the brainpower of big companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Verizon and AT&T.

This strike force will meet in October to come up with ways to use technology to thwart the scam artists and telemarketers who are spoofing their way into getting us to answer calls often made from foreign countries using free voice over internet.

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"It's extremely annoying. It's my private time at home and I don't like to be interrupted," said Gerry Williams of Modesto.

Robocalls are not just a nuisance. They rip off millions of dollars from consumers. And now, for the first time, the government and private industry are working on a way to make consumers robocall-proof.
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