AG Madigan joins to block robocalls

Illinois attorney general sides with 38 states calling for action by cellphone companies

 Lisa Madigan is joining 38 other attorneys general in demanding action on robocalls from telecommunication companies. (One Illinois/Ted Cox)

Lisa Madigan is joining 38 other attorneys general in demanding action on robocalls from telecommunication companies. (One Illinois/Ted Cox)

By Ted Cox

If you’ve been getting more unwanted robocalls of late — and who hasn’t? — the state attorney general is answering the call for reforms.

Lisa Madigan announced this week that she’s joining a bipartisan group of 38 other attorneys general to pressure phone companies to address the problem.

“Robocalls are an obnoxious form of consumer harassment,” Madigan said in a statement. “I am pleased to be part of this bipartisan group that will provide people simple ways to avoid annoying and invasive robocalls.”

Regulations establishing do-not-call lists have been in effect for so-called land lines for years, but the state regulators are calling on telecommunications companies to address the issue for cellphones as well.

According to a news release put out Wednesday by Madigan’s office, the attorneys general have had “in-depth meetings with several major telecom companies about technological capabilities currently in existence or in development that would reduce robocalls.” They’re pressuring the carriers to “quickly develop and implement technology to help identify and block potential unwanted robocalls for their customers.”

They want to first understand what’s currently “technologically feasible to minimize unwanted robocalls and illegal telemarking.” They’re calling on telecom companies to “expedite the best possible solutions for consumers.”

According to the Office of the Attorney General, they’ll weigh whether they should make recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission. Left unstated is the threat to file suit themselves if it’s found telecom companies can do more to prevent robocalls than what they’re currently doing — whether or not the Trump administration’s FCC acts on the recommendations.

According to the Chicago Tribune, 5.1 billion U.S. robocalls were placed in November, and Chicago placed fourth among major cities with 164 million robocalls, behind Atlanta, Dallas, and New York City.