Ajit Pai, new Chairman of the FCC, blogged his thoughts on reducing the amount of robocalling Americans are forced to endure. He proposed that providers "could block calls that purport to be from unassigned or invalid phone numbers" and noted that the list of unused telephone numbers is available for anyone to reference. He continued by saying, "There is no reason why any legitimate caller should be spoofing an unassigned or invalid phone number."
This is all valid. But what does he think will happen when robocallers cannot use unassigned numbers. Does he really think these parasites will simply find an honest job? Hardly. They will start using assigned numbers.
Using assigned numbers is already a problem, with swatting, where an anarchist-child calls the police pretending to be someone else, being downright dangerous. We need a robocalling solution that will eliminate swatting as well.
Robocallers and swatters use VOIP phones because they can be spoofed.
We need to improve the accuracy of Caller ID data. My Caller ID unit allows for 16 digits. We need to change the name field of calls originating from VOIP to start with "SPOOF?" This would enable 911 services to know that a call may not be what it appears to be and notify responding police officers to not assume that a life and death situation exists. And for international calls, if the call originated in or passed through an untrusted entity, it would be treated as VOIP.
And we need to require telephone companies to offer two new services to customers. The first would block all VOIP calls, with a facility to whitelist known good numbers (we'd need to make the selling or providing numbers in whitelists by telephone company employees a felony). The second would be the reverse, blocking calls by number, area code and prefix, area code, the first six digits of Caller ID data, or by country prefix (this would be for international calls originating in recognized telephone companies). These products would be similar to ones offered by CenturyLink: No Solicitation, which gives customers the ability to block a single number, block an entire area code and prefix, or block an entire area code, and Call Rejection, which give customers the ability to block specific numbers.
Many of us would simply block all VOIP calls and never look back.