Friday, April 18, 2014


Thanks to Edward Snowden, we now have some idea of how awesome the NSA’s power is. The spooks there and at the CIA can monitor every phone call we make, every e-mail we write.  If we “like” something on Facebook, or buy something on Amazon, or search for something on Google, chances are that someone somewhere will know it.

So why can’t our government, which certainly has the technology, protect us from robo-calls?

Today I received about four or five of these calls, from, according to my caller ID, “Out of Area,” “Anonymous,” “800 Service” and other aliases.  I didn’t answer any of these calls, but sometimes I search the calling number on-line and read angry reports from dozens of people, some of whom took the trouble to identify the callers, many of whom are political parties.  Therein lies the tale.

When politicians authorized the FCC to give us the Do Not Call Registry, which presumably shields us from such garbage, they exempted certain classes of callers from the DNC embargo. Among these are charities and (surprise, surprise) politicians and political parties.  The Do Not Call Registry is aimed at telemarketers, not politicians – which happen to comprise most of the calls we get these days.

Thus we are protected from the private sector, but not from the public sector. Hmmm. The Do Not Call Registry offers no protection whatsoever from the Democratic or Republican National Committee, individual office-seekers, Citizens United, and advocates who just want to talk to you about ObamaCare.  

Some people answer these calls, bent on chewing out the callers. Others leave the phone off-hook until the caller realizes he or she is being had.  Best bet is simply not to answer.  Picking up the phone simply verifies that your phone number is good. Moreover, some calls, which may be from overseas, initiate a scam designed to extract money from your bank account.

Some phone services offer blocking programs that allegedly intercept designated calls and serve as your private do-not-call list.  But robo-callers are sneaky, changing their numbers periodically, so any list of blocked numbers could prove a moving target.

If you want to rid your life of these nuisance telephone calls, your first step should be to demand that your congressman eliminate the exemption that politicians, political parties, PACs, etc. enjoy in the law that authorizes the Do Not Call Registry.

Good luck with that.