PIERRE, S.D. - Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg announced last week that, as a result of a bipartisan, public/private coalition of 51 attorneys general and 11 phone companies the phone companies have agreed to adopt eight principles to fight illegal robocalls. This agreement will help protect phone users from illegal robocalls and make it easier for attorneys general to investigate and prosecute bad actors.

“I am very encouraged by the cooperation and willingness of these telephone companies to assist in preventing illegal robocalls,” said Ravnsborg. “Illegal robocalls continue to harass, annoy, and scam the people of South Dakota and this is a significant step in the right direction.”

Phone companies will work to prevent illegal robocalls by:

• Implementing call-blocking technology at the network level at no cost to customers.

• Making available to customers additional, free, easy-to-use call blocking and labeling tools.

• Implementing technology to authenticate that callers are coming from a valid source.

• Monitoring their networks for robocall traffic.

Phone companies will assist attorneys’ general anti-robocall enforcement by:

• Knowing who their customers are so bad actors can be identified and investigated.

• Investigating and taking action against suspicious callers – including notifying law enforcement and state attorneys general.

• Working with law enforcement, including state attorneys general, to trace the origins of illegal robocalls.

• Requiring telephone companies with which they contract to cooperate in traceback identification.

He says that, "going forward, phone companies will stay in close communication with the coalition of attorneys general to continue to optimize robocall protections as technology and scammer techniques change."

"The principles offer a comprehensive set of best practices that recognizes that no single action or technology is sufficient to curb the scourge of illegal and unwanted robocalls,” said Levi Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Columbia University Henning Schulzrinne. “I hope that all parts of the telecommunication industry, both large and small, will commit to rapidly implementing these principles and work with state and federal authorities to make people want to answer their phone again without fear of being defrauded or annoyed."