“By 2009, Chris Hughson was fed up. The Portland area realtor was getting bombarded with spam texts and calls, as many as 10 a day, despite having his number on the Do Not Call Registry. He assumed his phone number had made it to some list, but he wasn’t sure what else he could do. “There’s got to be a way to strike back,” he thought,” Colin Lecher reports for The Verge. “Since then, Hughson, who studied law but never practiced, has filed dozens of lawsuits under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a law that lets consumers take callers to court if they’re called while on the Do Not Call Registry.”

“Hughson is stepping into a system that’s already left many Americans frustrated,” Lecher reports. “Washington has tried several tactics to stem the tide of automated calls, from passing the TCPA in 1991 to establishing the Do Not Call Registry in 2003. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regularly hands down multimillion-dollar penalties against individual robocallers. But the calls keep coming, and the problem has only gotten worse, leaving targets like Hughson with no choice but to take matters into their own hands.”

“The issue is the ease of becoming a robocaller. Anyone with a minor amount of technical ability can run their own system by downloading the relevant software,” Lecher reports. “The Do Not Call Registry was meant to preemptively stop calls, but if marketers are already breaking the rules, it’s unlikely the list will stop them… Ajit Pai, as chairman of the FCC, the other agency in charge of tackling robocalls, has said the issue is a cornerstone of his tenure. In one major move, the agency recently announced an $82 million fine against a caller. According to the agency, the marketer used spoofing technology to fake caller IDs, then made more than 21 million calls to sell health insurance. The FCC noted it was one of the largest forfeitures ever imposed by the agency.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: With iOS, you can block contacts and phone numbers on your device.

When you block a phone number or contact, they can still leave a voicemail, but you won’t get a notification. Messages that are sent or received won’t be delivered. Also, the contact won’t get a notification that the call or message was blocked.

To see the phone numbers and contacts that you’ve blocked from Phone, FaceTime, or Messages:

• Phone: Go to Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification.
• FaceTime: Go to Settings > FaceTime > Blocked.
• Messages: Go to Settings > Messages > Blocked.

From these screens, you can add or unblock contacts or unblock phone numbers.

To add a contact from Phone, go to Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification > Block Contact. Then tap the contact that you want to block. To add a contact from Messages or FaceTime, go to Settings > Messages or Settings > FaceTime, scroll down and tap Blocked, tap Add New, then select the contact that you want to block. To unblock a contact or phone number, swipe left over the number, then tap Unblock.