Reason to hope for an end to the robocall plague

Everyone hates them — those annoying, never-ending, often fraudulent robocalls from scammers and telemarketers. Striking day and night, they can drive you nuts no matter how carefully you screen your calls.

Yet this year, Americans may get some relief. On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission announced plans to crack down on robocalls. And Congress may pass its own measures.

Under the FCC plan, phone companies would get permission — and encouragement — to block unwanted calls using new “authentication protocol” technology. Telecoms have been hesitant to do that because existing rules oblige them to ensure all calls go through, and they fear accidentally blocking important, wanted calls.

But if companies keep resisting, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told lawmakers, the agency is looking at making them use the new technology.

New York’s own Sen. Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, says Congress has its “best chance” yet of passing bipartisan legislation to squelch robocallers.

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