T-Mobile is bundling a number of a scam protection measures — some of them have been active for years while a couple are new — and is distributing them to every customer under its own and the Sprint banners in an Un-carrier move called Scam Shield. The news belies a key integration for the company that's coming in a couple of weeks.
Robocalls may be the bane of any decent person. Industry players and regulators have committed to stopping and punishing those evildoers. Indeed, the FCC has been going after them and just proposed a record $225 million fine against two telemarketers who spoofed about 1 billion robocalls over the course of four-and-a-half months in 2019. There's also a lawsuit led by seven state attorneys general that could cause some more damage. But will these dastardly dialers end up paying anywhere close to these numbers? The short answer is probably not.
Late last year, Google promised that the Pixel 4's automatic Call Screening feature would be coming to all of its Pixel phones in the coming weeks. Well, it's been eight weeks, but it looks like the feature is finally starting to roll out to other Pixel phones. We have confirmed reports that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 have picked up automatic Call Screening, potentially related to the latest Phone app beta.
The US Justice Department has filed lawsuits against a handful of companies and individuals, accusing them of facilitating hundreds of millions of fraudulent robocalls. The suits accuse the companies of causing "elderly and vulnerable victims" serious financial harm.
Google announced a slew of updates as part of the first Pixel feature drop yesterday, among them the ability to automatically screen calls from unknown numbers on the Pixel 4. It looks like this option won't stay limited to the latest phone in the lineup for a long time, as Business Insider cites Google saying that it'll "roll out to all Pixel devices with Android 10 over the coming weeks."
Over the last few years, robocalls have quickly grown into one of the most universally despised issues among mobile phone users in the US. The seemingly exponential growth of spam calls has us heading toward a time where a majority of the phone calls made are spam. Today, T-Mobile, Comcast, and telecommunications company Intelliquent are announcing a technical milestone in the war on robocalls — the first call routed across three networks using an end-to-end implementation of the FCC recommended STIR/SHAKEN cryptographic security framework.
Congress has told voice service providers to shut down robocallers and instate call blocking by default. The FCC has mandated just the same. Now, 12 voice service providers have agreed to a series of principles drawn by attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia that include offering that call blocking to consumers for free, implementing STIR/SHAKEN across their networks, and cooperating in investigations.
Automatic call blocking is now the rule of the land thanks to your very own United States federal government — that means you should be getting fewer robocalls and cold dials from spoofed (faked) numbers. It also means the roll-out of a two-part authentication system between the network sending and the network receiving named SHAKEN/STIR. This very system has just been deployed for calls between the AT&T and T-Mobile networks.
Robocalls are a problem almost everyone in the US can relate to, and the fact that carriers weren't allowed to block suspected spam calls without the explicit opt-in from customers for a long time hasn't exactly improved the issue. An FCC ruling in June changed legislation around that, and AT&T was quick to act on it. The company is now automatically blocking calls it suspects as spam or fraud.