In the near future, we might chose to pick up the phone again.
In response to the almost 50 billion robocalls that were made last year in the U.S., the Senate just voted in favor of a bipartisan bill that could put an end to unsolicited marketing calls once and for all.
The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act overwhelmingly passed with just one vote against and 97 in favor — clearly an issue that both sides can agree on.
The bill will increase fines and criminalize illegal unsolicited robocalls — and, more importantly, require providers to come up with a way to authenticate calls going forward.
"This bipartisan, common-sense bill puts a bullseye on the scam artists and criminals who are making it difficult for many Americans to answer the phone with any bit of confidence about who's on the other end of the line," said John Thune (R-SD), who co-introduced the bill.
The technology to authenticate calls already exists and has been lauded by the Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai as a "a significant step towards ending the scourge of spoofed robocalls." In short, the STIR/SHAKEN framework ensures that both sides of a call would have their caller ID "signed" and validated by carriers.
"I commend the US Senate for passing the TRACED Act... [It] would help strengthen the FCC's ability to combat illegal robocalls," said Pai in a statement today. "And we would welcome these additional tools to fight this scourge."
READ MORE: Senate passes bill to curb robocalls [CNET]
More on robocalls: Rise of the Robocallers: Here’s How We’ll Avoid a Future of Scammers