The FCC Cracks Down on Those F*$%#! Robocallers

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Here is today’s installment of “Government Bureaucrats Working To Make Your Life Better.” Seriously. Behold the latest rule from the FCC:

After receiving thousands of complaints from consumers, the Federal Communications Commission clamped down Wednesday on unwanted robo-calling by approving sweeping changes to its telemarketing rules for wireline and mobile phones.

….Under the new FCC rules, telemarketers are required to obtain written consent, which can be in the form of an online approval, before placing autodialed or prerecorded calls to a consumer. Telemarketers also must provide an automated opt-out mechanism during each robo-call so that consumers can immediately tell the telemarketer to stop calling.

The FCC also eliminated the “established business relationship” exception, which had allowed robo-calls to be placed to the land-line home phones of consumers with “prior or existing” associations with companies represented by telemarketers.

I’m especially thrilled about the last bit. If my dentist (or whoever) wants to call to tell me something genuine (don’t forget your checkup tomorrow!), that’s fine. But if they just want to harass me endlessly with robocalls to sell me more stuff (we’re having a sale on tooth whitening!) then forget it. That’s an ordinary commercial telemarketing call and I want it stopped regardless of whether I happen to have set foot in their establishment before.

I have my doubts about how many robocallers actually care about the FCC’s rules, but I’m sure at least some of them do, and thus my life will be made ever so slightly better. So hooray for the FCC. These are your bureaucrats watching out for you.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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