They think they’re so clever

Bill Clinton made a big fuss over the definition of “is.” I have to believe that the Republican National Committee yearned for a lexicographical insult of their own, and this may be it:

[T]here’s possibly a new way to annoy us being reviewed by the FCC. The Republican National Committee is pushing the agency to adopt a new technology that would allow telemarketers to leave prerecorded messages on our voicemail without the phone ever ringing, Recode reports. We would simply get a notification that a voicemail was received, mixed in, of course, with more important voicemails.

Current laws prohibit calls by telemarketers if the recipient has signed up on the do not call registry. While many ignore it, most reputable organizations and companies abide by the rules. But, apparently, they feel left out from the right to annoy us. So they want to use this new technology that avoids ringing. Their logic is that this should be legal because if the phone never rings, it’s not a call. As a result, they are now petitioning the FCC to allow this new form of messaging. They argue that they shouldn’t need our permission to auto-dial our mobile voicemail inboxes directly to leave an advertising message.

The rationale for this? Highly dubious, of course:

In a comment filed with the FCC on Friday, the RNC said it felt the telecom agency should clear the way for organizations — including, apparently, itself — to auto-dial directly to voicemail inboxes with prerecorded pitches. Failing to permit the practice, the RNC warned, could threaten the First Amendment rights of political groups.

If this thing actually becomes A Thing, the Democrats would be wise to hang it on the GOP. The electorate will never forgive them.


  1. J T »

    27 May 2017 · 11:43 am

    Hope the carriers offer a way to block direct messages like that. I’m on Vonage so I can go on their account website and block numbers once they call and delete voicemail directly without listening to it.

  2. Bryan »

    27 May 2017 · 10:08 pm

    I also hope carriers or someone will make a service available to prevent messages that circumvent the actual calling system. Though, since I know that I can do the same thing at work (leave voicemail by calling someone’s voicemail directly) I suppose this is kind of legit. Kind of underhanded, though, at the same time…

  3. McG »

    27 May 2017 · 10:43 pm

    I know of at least two voicemails I’ve received without my phone ringing, but they were left by Mrs. McG calling my cell from hers. The only explanation I can come up with is that I just happened to be temporarily out of both of the networks — T-Mobile and Sprint — that my carrier uses. Both times.

    I get to read most voicemails before deciding whether to listen or delete. They’re always garbled but I can always get enough of the gist (15 to 20%) to make a decision.

  4. Jay »

    28 May 2017 · 7:59 am

    Robocalls, e-mail spam, voicemail spam, website spam, I have no truck with these organizations. As they are using my time, my equipment, my resources, and my services, to further their business without my compensation, their actions are nothing more than theft. The only such solicitations I do consider are the ones delivered by the USPS, as at least they paid to have their message delivered.

  5. Holly H »

    30 May 2017 · 2:47 pm

    Jay, I quite agree. And I hope the voters will have a long memory on this one.

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