FCC's Ajit Pai: 'I hate robocalls as much as you do'

Illegal robocalls might be less of a hassle in the future.

Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown
2 min read
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

Ajit Pai wants to knock the stuffing out of illegal robocalls. 

Alex Wong / Getty Images

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai says illegal robocalls are the FCC's top consumer complaint each year. In an op-ed published in USA Today Thursday, Pai said these unwanted calls should be blocked by default.

"If Americans can agree on anything these days, it's that they're fed up with robocalls," Pai said. "The scam calls. The calls from foreign countries at 2 a.m. The deceptive caller ID 'spoofing,' which happens when a caller falsifies caller ID information to make it look as if they're calling from your area code."

It can be especially frustrating given how big a part of our lives phones have become. Pai cited the example of a woman who told him she felt overwhelmed by the calls. "She felt like robocallers had absconded with her expensive smartphone," he wrote.

In May, Pai issued a proposal that would allow wireless carriers to block those robocalls for customers by default. Companies would also allow consumers to block calls from unknown numbers themselves. The FCC is set to vote on the proposal Thursday during its Open Commission Meeting. Pai said he expects phone companies to adopt these tools quickly if the proposal passes. 

In the op-ed, the FCC chairman also said not everyone is happy about his proposal and that robocallers, including debt collectors, have asked the agency to delay its vote. 

"But the Americans whom I hear from want relief from the flood of unwanted robocalls now. They don't want us to wait," Pai said. "I hate robocalls as much as you do."   

The FCC didn't immediately respond to request for further comment.

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