Engadget: The FCC is going to hold providers accountable for anti-robocall efforts

Engadget: The FCC is going to hold providers accountable for anti-robocall efforts. “The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is introducing a new database all voice providers will have to use to allow the agency to track the work they’re doing to stop robocalls. Starting September 28th, 2021, phone companies will be required to block any incoming traffic from providers not listed in the Robocall Mitigation Database.”

The Verge: Google’s AI reservation service Duplex is now available in 49 states

The Verge: Google’s AI reservation service Duplex is now available in 49 states. “More than two years after it initially began trials, Google’s AI-powered reservation service Duplex is now available in 49 US states. This looks like it’ll be the limit of Duplex’s coverage in the US for the time being, as Google tells The Verge it has no timeline to launch the service in the last hold-out state — Louisiana — due to unspecified local laws.”

CNN: What it’s like to live in the robocall capital of America

CNN: What it’s like to live in the robocall capital of America. “[Melinda] Walsh lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which receives the most robocalls per person in the United States, according to data from YouMail, a robocall-prevention service that tracks robocall traffic across the country. The city averaged 39 robocalls per resident in February, YouMail found. That’s more than two and a half times the national average, which is about 14 to 15 calls monthly for each person, according to YouMail.”

Department of Justice: India-based VoIP provider and its director indicted for facilitating millions of scam robocalls to Americans

Department of Justice: India-based VoIP provider and its director indicted for facilitating millions of scam robocalls to Americans . “A first-of-its-kind indictment was unsealed today against Indian-based Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider, E Sampark, and its Director, Gaurav Gupta, who pushed out tens of millions of scam calls to American consumers on behalf of India-based phone scammers. Pursuant to a consent permanent injunction, a federal court has also ordered a Florida-based server farm to stop providing E Sampark and Gupta with servers used to help perpetuate the fraud scheme. The consent permanent injunction seeks to prevent E Sampark and Gupta from further victimizing U.S. consumers through the use of the servers located in Florida.”

Engadget: Prison video visitation system exposed calls between inmates and lawyers

Engadget: Prison video visitation system exposed calls between inmates and lawyers. “Prison video visitation systems are sometimes the only way family and lawyers can talk to inmates, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the security of those systems recently suffered a major lapse. Researcher Bob Diachenko told TechCrunch that video visitation provider HomeWAV left a database dashboard publicly accessible without a password since April, exposing ‘thousands’ of calls between inmates and their attorneys. Anyone could read call logs and transcripts.”

CNET: Google’s Verified Calls lets you know why a business is calling before you answer

CNET: Google’s Verified Calls lets you know why a business is calling before you answer. “Google on Tuesday said it’s rolling out a new Verified Calls feature in its Phone app for Android devices in an effort to separate calls you actually want to answer from spam and robocalls. Verified Calls will show the business’ name, a business logo, reason for calling and a verification symbol, Google said.”

Gizmodo: Prison Phone App Exposes Millions of Inmate Messages and Personal Data

Gizmodo: Prison Phone App Exposes Millions of Inmate Messages and Personal Data. “As many incarcerated individuals are having their visiting privileges restricted due to the global pandemic, Telmate’s Getting Out app has become one of the only options that families separated by incarceration have to keep in touch. But according to research published today, hundreds of millions of intimate messages from many millions of inmates were sitting exposed on the web.”

U.S. Department of Justice: District Court Enters Permanent Injunction Shutting Down Telecom Carriers Who Facilitated Hundreds of Millions of Fraudulent Robocalls to Consumers in The United States

U.S. Department of Justice: District Court Enters Permanent Injunction Shutting Down Telecom Carriers Who Facilitated Hundreds of Millions of Fraudulent Robocalls to Consumers in The United States. “As alleged in a civil complaint filed earlier this year in United States v. Nicholas Palumbo, et al., spouses Nicholas and Natasha Palumbo of Scottsdale, Arizona, and their companies, Ecommerce National LLC d/b/a TollFreeDeals.com and SIP Retail d/b/a sipretail.com, received millions of fraudulent internet-based calls every day from other entities, often located abroad. Those calls were then transmitted, initially to other carriers within the United States and ultimately, to the phones of individuals. The defendants are alleged to have knowingly allowed numerous foreign-based individuals and entities to transmit fraudulent government- and business-imposter robocalls through defendants’ network and on to victims in the United States.”

PC Magazine: Google’s AI starts answering Verizon support calls

PC Magazine: Google’s AI starts answering Verizon support calls. “This week, Verizon announced that it has started piloting Google’s Cloud Contact Center Artificial Intelligence in a bid to deliver, ‘a more natural and streamlined digital experience.’ Verizon believes using Google’s tech will lead to shorter call times and more satisfied customers, with the added bonus of the company being able to deal with more customers calling each day.”

‘Voices of San Quentin’; Instagram Page Portrays Prisoners, Families Cut Off By COVID (KPIX)

KPIX: ‘Voices of San Quentin’; Instagram Page Portrays Prisoners, Families Cut Off By COVID. “Marion Wickerd’s husband, Tommy, is serving time in San Quentin for voluntary manslaughter. He tested positive for COVID-19, and doesn’t show symptoms, but she’s worried…. So she’s turning to social media. ‘The Voices of San Quentin’ Instagram is allowing people to share what’s going on with their loved ones, with their fears,” she explained.”

Neowin: Google Phone gets Verified Calls to let you know why a business is calling

Neowin: Google Phone gets Verified Calls to let you know why a business is calling. “Google is rolling out a new Verified Calls feature for the Phone app to let a user know that they are receiving a call from a business and the reason behind it. The company explains that the Verified Calls feature is meant to avoid scams and fraud calls by verifying the identity of the business that is calling, display their reason for calling as well as their business logo.”

CNN: Americans are getting fewer robocalls because of the pandemic

CNN: Americans are getting fewer robocalls because of the pandemic. “One of the biggest consumer headaches has eased up at least in part due to the pandemic. Americans experienced a drop in the amount of robocalls flooding their phones in April, helped by international call centers being shut down during the global pandemic and government efforts to stop Covid-19-related scams.”

Techdirt: NSA Blew $100 Million On Phone Records Over Five Years, Generated Exactly One Usable Lead

Techdirt: NSA Blew $100 Million On Phone Records Over Five Years, Generated Exactly One Usable Lead. “The telephone metadata program the NSA finally put out to pasture in 2019 was apparently well past its expiration date. Since the initial Snowden leak in 2013, critics have argued the program needed to die since it was obviously the sort of general warrant rummaging (only without the warrant!) the founding fathers headed off with the Fourth Amendment.”