Who participates in the Industry Traceback Group?
The ITG has more than 40 voice service provider members whose operations are guided by detailed written policies and procedures. The origination, delivery and termination of robocalls involves numerous voice service providers in a complex ecosystem. Over 400 voice service providers have participated in ITG tracebacks of suspected illegal robocalls to date.
What is Government Saying about USTelecom’s ITG?
From the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued press release on July 27, 2020, designating ITG as the official consortium for coordinating industry-led efforts to trace back the origin of suspected unlawful robocalls:
The Industry Traceback Group has been and will continue to be a vital partner in our pursuit of unlawful robocallers. Protecting consumers against illegal spoofing and robocalls is our top consumer protection priority, and this industry consortium is a key contributor.” Rosemary Harold, Chief of the FCC Enforcement Bureau
Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
FTC Chairman Joe Simons and Commissioner Noah Phillips share progress of our Industry Traceback Group in the fight against robocalls during Senate Oversight Hearing
FTC’s Andrew Smith calls USTelecom ITG “Invaluable” during testimony before Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection
United States Senate:
Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Tom Carper (D-DE) letters to DOJ, FCC, FCC and IRS seeking data about robocall scammers (June 25, 2020):
Government and industry should always cooperate to fight illegal robocalls, but it is even more critical at a time when so many Americans are facing economic and health concerns. Companies across the telecommunications industry work together through the Industry Traceback Group (ITG) to trace and identify the originators of illegal robocalls. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ITG has reported a wide variety of scam calls to the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, and state attorneys general.”Letters sent June 25, 2020
National Association of Attorneys General:
In a May 2020 letter, the National Association of Attorneys General wrote “…[M]ultiple state attorneys general have issued subpoenas or civil investigative demands to the ITG and received valuable information for their investigations. In short, the partnership between the ITG and the state attorneys general is a crucial one, and we endeavor to strengthen it.”
The chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau said ITG was “invaluable” in helping identify patterns and common sources of harmful traffic and the group was “instrumental” in helping the FCC achieve its top consumer protection goal – ending the twin abuses of illegal robocalls and illegal spoofed calls.
USTelecom has been particularly helpful in making sure that we can quickly trace scam robocalls to their originating source, and is an important ally in promoting broad industry participation in these traceback efforts.”FCC Chairman Ajit Pai
In June 2019, an FTC action against an illegal robocall scam acknowledged USTelecom’s help in bringing to justice an individual responsible for generating millions of illegal and spoofed robocalls and calls to numbers listed on the Do Not Call Registry.
State Attorneys General:
In August 2019, 51 State Attorneys General and 12 national voice service providers announced their shared commitment to ending illegal robocalls, including a commitment to “allow for timely and comprehensive law enforcement efforts against illegal robocallers, [and to] dedicate sufficient resources to provide prompt and complete responses to traceback requests from law enforcement and from USTelecom’s Industry Traceback Group.”
Michigan Attorney General:
In November 2019, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced a sweeping crackdown on illegal robocalls targeting the state’s residents by partnering with state and federal partners and 12 initiatives to stop illegal robocall scammers in Michigan.
Department of Justice:
In January 2020, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed civil actions against companies and individuals allegedly responsible for carrying hundreds of millions of fraudulent robocalls to American consumers. The illegal robocalls originated in India, leading to massive financial losses for elderly and vulnerable consumers. USTelecom’s ITG was cited by DOJ for providing critical data to track down the scammers behind these calls.