Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
If it isn't already, you could pester your councillor/senator/whatever
to have similar legislation passed there.
Such call are, in general, already illegal in the United States, and
have been for some years.
Robo-dialing and the playing of automated announcements are not
permitted. Making marketing calls to people who have registered their
phone number on the "Do Not Call" list is explicitly illegal.
The law has next to no teeth, though. It is rare for the authorities
to actually prosecute cases - it takes a *lot* of complaints to
pressure them into doing the "legwork" needed to trace back these
sorts of calls to the originator(s), and gather the evidence needed to
secure a criminal conviction or a civil fine.
If I recall, the law does give the offended consumer (who receives
such calls) the right of private action - i.e. the right to file a
lawsuit in civil court against the marketer. Unfortunately (as with
junk fakes) it is both difficult and expensive to track down the
offender, collect proof that s/he was the one who called, identify the
business or business owner, file suit, serve the suit, go to court,
make your case, win, get a judgement, and then actually collect.
A lot of these calls come from "boiler room" telemarketing operations,
which can set up and shut down on a moment's notice. By using Voice
over IP they can make calls to anywhere, from anywhere, with excellent
anonymity. And, a fair number of such calls are now originated from
outside the U.S., so applying the TCPA law becomes almost impossible.
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
In the meantime, I presume
there _is_ at least some mechanism for reporting "nuisance callers",
though like here it was probably set up to deal with heavy breathers and
the like. Otherwise, the suggestion of an answerphone set on speaker
sounds like a good compromise for now.
A couple of years ago, I switched my wife's business landline over
from a dedicated hard-line to a voice-over-IP provider. The incoming
call comes to an Asterisk server I run. It has a multi-layer defense
against junk calls:
- Any call which is on our private "blacklist" is immediately
rejected with a "CONGESTION" error.
- Calls from outside our local area codes go to a "Please wait to
be connected" voice message, and then a 10-to-15 second delay
before the phone / answering machine are rung. This gets rid of
a lot of junk calls - they don't hang on the line long enough
to get past the delay.
- I can dial "666" from any of our VoIP phones, and the system will
read back the number of the last call on her line. I can then hit
"6" to add it to the blacklist. If I head a ring-no-answer from
her office I call 666, write down the number, run a quick Web check
to see if there are telemarketing complaints against it, and if so,
call back and "6" it to the blacklist.
I'm strongly tempted to add an automatic Web lookup to the
"telemarketing complaint" web site, while the call is still in
progress (or immediately after) and blacklist numbers that have been
mentioned repeatedly or recently.
Unfortunately, none of the above helps with our main home land-line,
which is still olde-fashioned analog (I don't want to get rid of it as
it's pretty certain to work even during a power failure or Internet