The House and Senate finally agree on something: Robocalls (TechCrunch)

TechCrunch: The House and Senate finally agree on something: Robocalls. “In these times of political strife, it’s nice that despite our differences we can still band together as a nation in the face of a catastrophe that affects us all equally. I speak, of course, of robocalls, and it seems that the House and Senate have put their differences aside for the present in order to collaborate on a law combating this scourge.”

Techdirt: FBI Asks Congress To Permanently Reauthorize The Phone Record Collection The NSA Voluntarily Shut Down

Techdirt: FBI Asks Congress To Permanently Reauthorize The Phone Record Collection The NSA Voluntarily Shut Down. “The NSA may not need the phone records collection but it appears the FBI thinks it does. The easiest way for Congress to codify the program’s shut down would be to let it expire at the end of this year. FBI Director Chris Wray is hoping to prevent a do-nothing Congress from doing nothing and letting the clock run out on the metadata collection.”

TechCrunch: This brilliant app waits on hold for you

TechCrunch: This brilliant app waits on hold for you. “DoNotPay helps you get out of parking tickets and cancel forgotten subscriptions, and now it can call you when it’s your turn in a customer service phone queue. The app today is launching ‘Skip Waiting On Hold.’ Just type in the company you need to talk to, and DoNotPay calls for you using tricks to get a human on the line quickly. Then it calls you back and connects you to the agent so you never have to listen to that annoying hold music.” It’s not free, but $3 a month could pay for itself depending on how often you have to wait on hold.

How-To Geek: Windows 10’s Phone Calls Will Support All Android 7+ Phones

How-To Geek: Windows 10’s Phone Calls Will Support All Android 7+ Phones. “If you have an Android phone, the Calls feature will let you answer phone calls on your PC, initiate phone calls from your PC, access your call history in the Your Phone app, and seamlessly transfer calls between your PC and Android phone while on a call. You can even decline a call from your PC and send a custom text message in response or just send it to voicemail.”

Engadget: Phone companies and state attorneys general join forces to fight robocalls

Engadget: Phone companies and state attorneys general join forces to fight robocalls. “US consumers receive as many as 350,000 unwanted calls every three minutes, according to the FCC. Despite multiple efforts to end the onslaught, an estimated 4.7 billion robocalls hit American phones in July alone. Now, attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia are teaming up with 12 carriers in a united effort to prevent and block the spam calls.”

CNET: Trump administration reportedly wants to extend NSA phone surveillance program

CNET: Trump administration reportedly wants to extend NSA phone surveillance program. “The Trump administration has reportedly asked Congress to permanently reauthorize all provisions of the USA Freedom Act, including a controversial National Security Agency program that collects and analyzes records on millions of Americans’ calls and texts in an attempt to thwart terrorists.”

Federal Trade Commission: FTC Announces New Public Web Page with Interactive Do Not Call and Robocall Data

Federal Trade Commission: FTC Announces New Public Web Page with Interactive Do Not Call and Robocall Data. “As part of its continued efforts to help make the Do Not Call (DNC) data it collects more transparent and easier for consumers to use, the Federal Trade Commission today announced the debut of a new interactive public web page containing a wealth of information about the National DNC Registry and unwanted telemarketing robocalls.”

The Verge: A new anti-robocalling bill is headed to the House floor

The Verge: A new anti-robocalling bill is headed to the House floor. “The bipartisan Stopping Bad Robocalls Act would outlaw a slate of methods fraudsters use to scam consumers over the phone and through text. If approved, the bill would make it easier for the government to go after the fraudsters and issue tougher penalties. The Federal Communications Commission would also need to update what it considers a ‘robocall,’ which would require more businesses to obtain consent from customers before making robotic calls.”

Washington Post: Robocalls are overwhelming hospitals and patients, threatening a new kind of health crisis

Washington Post: Robocalls are overwhelming hospitals and patients, threatening a new kind of health crisis. “In the heart of Boston, Tufts Medical Center treats scores of health conditions, administering measles vaccines for children and pioneering next-generation tools that can eradicate the rarest of cancers. But doctors, administrators and other hospital staff struggled to contain a much different kind of epidemic one April morning last year: a wave of thousands of robocalls that spread like a virus from one phone line to the next, disrupting communications for hours.”

Nature: Can tracking people through phone-call data improve lives?

Nature: Can tracking people through phone-call data improve lives?. “After an earthquake tore through Haiti in 2010, killing more than 100,000 people, aid agencies spread across the country to work out where the survivors had fled. But Linus Bengtsson, a graduate student studying global health at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, thought he could answer the question from afar. Many Haitians would be using their mobile phones, he reasoned, and those calls would pass through phone towers, which could allow researchers to approximate people’s locations.”

The Verge: The Senate votes to approve anti-robocalling bill

The Verge: The Senate votes to approve anti-robocalling bill. “A bipartisan proposal, the TRACED Act, was introduced by Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Ed Markey (D-MA). If passed, it would raise the fines the FCC is permitted to levy on robocallers, and increase the statute of limitations for bringing those cases. It would also create an interagency task force to address the problem, and push carriers like AT&T and Verizon to deploy call authentication systems like the pending STIR/SHAKEN protocols into their networks.”

Mashable: 10 crisis help lines that offer texting or chat services

Mashable: 10 crisis help lines that offer texting or chat services . “A growing number of crisis lines provide people in need with texting support as well as phone advice. The appeal of this type of service is clear. Texting and chat platforms provide a degree of anonymity that a phone conversation simply does not, given its intimacy. Here are ten crisis lines that provide texting and chat services for people in need.”