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Press Release

Alaska Attorney General Joins Coalition of Attorneys General in Effort to Expand Illegal Robocall Enforcement

May 5, 2020

(Anchorage, AK) –  Attorney General Kevin G. Clarkson recently joined a bipartisan coalition of 52 attorneys general in calling on USTelecom – the leading organization representing telecommunications providers – and its Industry Traceback Group (ITG) to continue its collaboration with state attorneys general by bolstering technological capabilities to improve enforcement against illegal robocallers.  In a letter sent May 4, 2020 to USTelecom (445K PDF), the coalition is urging development of robocall traceback and other tools suited to law enforcement needs.

“These calls affect all Alaskans and pose a threat to vulnerable people who have no reason to doubt the voice on the other end of the line,” Attorney General Clarkson said.  “Illegal robocalls are a nationwide concern, and I’m proud to stand with my colleagues from across the country in working to address it,” Attorney General Clarkson said. “People have accepted robocalls as a part of their everyday lives, and the number of robocalls will continue if we don’t take aggressive action. Law enforcement agencies need the tools to combat this issue, and furthering this collaboration is a step in the right direction.”

The letter asks USTelecom to advance the ITG’s abilities in identifying robocall campaigns and trends; conducting automated traceback investigations; and coordinating with relevant law enforcement agencies.  A key element would be for USTelecom to develop and roll out an online platform to collect live data from carriers and robocall-blocking apps. When USTelecom or a law enforcement agency detects an illegal robocall campaign, the law enforcement agency would be able to submit a subpoena to USTelecom in a streamlined online portal.

The process would allow for rapid review and give law enforcement agencies the ability to expedite subpoenas, bolster investigations, and could potentially lead to attorney general offices issuing temporary restraining orders that could stop a live robocall campaign in its tracks.

The coalition believes these measures would strengthen the partnership between the USTelecom-backed ITG and attorneys general, a relationship that led to the creation of the Anti-Robocall Principles (455K PDF). Those principles were established in August 2019 when 51 attorneys general and 12 major telecom providers took aim at reducing the number of unwanted and illegal robocalls reaching the American people.

More recently – and due in part to the support from the telecommunications industry and state attorneys general – the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act was signed into law by the federal government. This law enables the industry to develop call-authentication protocols to combat caller-ID spoofing and implement other sweeping anti-robocall measures.

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Department Media Contact: Assistant Attorney General Maria Bahr at (907) 269-5285 or maria.bahr@alaska.gov.