Welcome to Power Maps from Tag The Flag where we zoom out to provide unique insights about our country and the world. These graphical, visual, and statistical representations are meant to help us make sense of our surroundings and visualize themes, trends, and topics in our borders and beyond.
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According to Truecaller, a Swedish company that tracks spam calls, the United States is the eighth-most-spammed nation in the world. Americans received 7% more spam calls in 2019 compared to last year.
Background: The report comes after efforts by the Federal Communications Commission to crackdown on robocalls, which are the No.1 complaint consumers make to the agency. Truecaller found robocalls in the U.S. increased by 35% in the last year, despite the four major service providers offering tools to block unwanted calls and identify potential scams. [Kristin Lam, USA TODAY]
Get This: That being said, robocalls have seemingly done the impossible: Unite a toxically divided Washington. A sweeping 417-3 House vote Wednesday left Congress on the verge of passing legislation aimed at knocking back the billions of unwanted automated phone calls that torment Americans each month, amid hopes the Senate can send the measure to President Donald Trump by Christmas. [John Hendel, POLITICO]
Details: The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act would require phone-service providers to implement an effective caller-ID authentication program, and it would make sure that providers are allowed to block unauthenticated calls. Such provisions mirror what the FCC is already working toward. In addition, the bill ramps up penalties for offenders and specifies that providers in rural areas must deliver the authentication program, and it bars providers from separately billing for authentication or blocking services. [Victor Reklatitis, MarketWatch]
Turn those calls into cash: Most Americans don’t know this, but those annoying calls can actually be turned into cash according to ABC 7 of Chicago: “The Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule make it illegal for any business to call a cell phone using an autodialer without permission. Every time they do, they owe you no less than $500. If your cell phone is on the National Do Not Call Registry, they owe you $1,500.” This article is one you may want to keep reading [Samantha Chatman, ABC 7 Chicago]