Lee Neubecker (LN): I’m here
today with Debbie Reynolds. We’re going to be talking
a little bit about robocall and some new legislation coming our way. Those annoying phone calls
we all get on our cellphones. Debbie Reynolds (DR): That’s right. Have you gotten any calls where it’s the first six
digits of your phone number? DR: Yes! LN: That’s called “neighborhood calling”. And basically, what the bad guys are doing is that they’re using
VOIP technology to spoof, and they’re plugging in any number. So they can actually
impersonate people you know. But they do this because
they think that it increases the likelihood that
you’ll answer the phone. In fact, for me, when I
see those first six digits, I’m not even going to answer it. DR: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.
It’s wrong or what now? LN: One of the big problems we have is no one’s taking
accountability for this. I heard AT&T is trying to force some authentication mechanisms, but there needs to be
some more teeth on this so that people can’t just
impersonate phone numbers, or we’ll never get through this. DR: Absolutely, absolutely. Actually, so, thankfully
this law passed, right? LN: Well, it’s going through. It passed under the House, overwhelmingly DR: Overwhelming, yeah.
LN: They’re hoping that… It said it could happen by 2020, perhaps? DR: Okay, that’d be good.
LN: But it’s got to… I think they have to
reconcile the two bills, the House and senate, and then the President has to sign it. But by the show of votes, I
think everyone’s in favor of let’s tackle all these annoying robocalls. DR: Absolutely. So the FCC, they really
made a lot of headway many years ago on the
Do Not Call Registry, so this will be sort of
another layer to that, that the FCC is sort of looking at. I don’t know about you,
but I’m very annoyed when I get robocalls, so
I’m not happy about this. Maybe it will happen after the election, because the election, people
like to be robocalled. LN: I get tons of calls from
people wanting to lend me money, They will ring my phone once and then it will hit my voicemail. This woman keeps calling, saying, I want to speak to you. It’s like, and it’s
not even a real person, It’s all automated. It’s annoying. DR: Oh, my goodness. Well,
one interesting thing about the law, or the one that
they’re anticipating, or trying to pass, that I haven’t seen in other laws like this, they’re trying to force companies to create technology, to
be able to tell a robocall LN: The carriers need to enforce it. The carriers have to stop
allowing unsecured VOIP to impersonate calls. DR: Right. The House does not allow it, but they specifically
said they have to create, if it does exist, they have to create some
technology to make sure they can tell a robocall
from a normal call? LN: It’s basically like,
we’re going to block any call that isn’t using a
means of identity verification. Right now, it’s about a bust. DR: And they can’t charge for it, so it’s not like an extra fee. I’m sure what’ll happen is
they’ll do you another fee and then call it something else, but it’ll be probably just robocalls. LN: The act also increased the penalty. Current legislation, the TCPA, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, dealt with spam faxes,
calls, and what-not, but the robocall act is
going to produce penalties I think to ten thousand dollars each. DR: Per incident.
LN: Per incident. DR: So that’s a lot. LN: So that’s going to drive
my TCPA consulting business, because that’s work (laughs).
DR: Yeah, absolutely. Well, if it actually makes it, I’m sure the thing about
the $10,000 per incident and also, forcing companies
to create technology to be able to tell what’s a robocall, corporations or the carriers
are probably going to fight that. So, we’ll see.
LN: Yeah. So Debbie, what are the likely impacts on the litigation
environment, as you see it? If this legislation goes through? DR: Well, first of all,
there will be companies that will, uh, I’m sure
there will be consumer groups that want to bundle
together consumer complaints and probably go after these carriers to try to get these big fines or whatever. So, this could be tying up
the legislation for a while. Once the lawyers get their fees, You’ll probably want to get
the $10,000 per incident. LN: It’s going to make it
a lot more, in my opinion, they will make it much
easier to actually identify who’s behind it, because right now people are using proxy
phone numbers to call and many of them are just total scams run out of the country. You can’t– A Nigerian spam call center,
we can’t really go after, but if our carriers say
they’re going to block these rogue, foreign VOIP connections, then it will make it more secure. Ultimately, you’ll probably
have people who opt in to the insecure network, and people who want a secure-only platform where it’s no use calling them. DR: I agree. LN: Thank you for being on the show today. It was great to have you on
again. I love your scarf. DR: Thank you. LN: You always have interesting scarves. DR: (laughs) Thank you. A pleasure. LN: We’ll see you soon.
DR: Okay, bye bye.