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Republicans Want To Leave You Voicemail -- Without Ever Ringing Your Cellphone (recode.net) 443

bricko quotes a report from Recode: The GOP's leading campaign and fundraising arm, the Republican National Committee, has quietly thrown its support behind a proposal at the Federal Communications Commission that would pave the way for marketers to auto-dial consumers' cellphones and leave them prerecorded voicemail messages -- all without ever causing their devices to ring. Under current federal law, telemarketers and others, like political groups, aren't allowed to launch robocall campaigns targeting cellphones unless they first obtain a consumer's written consent. But businesses stress that it's a different story when it comes to "ringless voicemail" -- because it technically doesn't qualify as a phone call in the first place. In their eyes, that means they shouldn't need a customer or voter's permission if they want to auto-dial mobile voicemail inboxes in bulk pre-made messages about a political candidate, product or cause. And they want the FCC to rule, once and for all, that they're in the clear. Their argument, however, has drawn immense opposition from consumer advocates.
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Republicans Want To Leave You Voicemail -- Without Ever Ringing Your Cellphone

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  • Counter-argument (Score:5, Informative)

    by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @08:07PM (#54474017)

    People want to leave politicians and marketers a big turd on their front door - without ever ringing their doorbell.

  • by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @08:11PM (#54474033) Journal

    ...and AT&T can charge $20/month to automatically remove it!

  • and fill up the voice mail.

  • by taustin ( 171655 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @08:18PM (#54474071) Homepage Journal

    to document every politician who does this, how often, and about what. It will offer no commentary on whether it is good or bad, whether the politician should be thrown out of office or given a medal. Just that they did it, how often, and about what.

    Who is willing to help me post bail when I'm arrested for it?

    • post a link for submissions when you do, i will even record the messages in mp3 or ogg format and send them, let the whole public know what those dirty rotten scoundrels are saying
    • by Imrik ( 148191 )

      Just make sure you're recording the ones that are doing this, not the ones the ads are supporting. They aren't always the same people precisely because of people like you.

    • There are already a plethora of websites where users can document obnoxious phone calls (and other users can look up numbers to see who is this unknown caller calling you, and read those complaints about it). Seriously just search the web for any random unknown caller's number and you'll find tons of them.

      Unless these prerecorded ringless voicemails don't have a callback number associated with them somehow, those existing sites would serve that function just fine.

  • Let them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jrono ( 470199 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @08:20PM (#54474083)

    Let them.

    The backlash to ghost Republican voicemail spam will be so severe Reagan, Nixon, and Lincoln will all posthumously switch to the Democratic Party.

    • by Imrik ( 148191 )

      Even if the voicemails initially appear to support Democrats?

      • Voicemail spam could support unicorns, puppydogs and world peace and it would STILL be considered harassment.

        • by Imrik ( 148191 )

          It's still harassment, but if you blame the wrong people for the harassment and as a result vote for the people they really want you to vote for, the campaign is a success.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by kenwd0elq ( 985465 )

      Reagan at least was a Democrat for quite a while. Back in the early 1970's, he said that he didn't leave the Democrat party; the Democrat party left him. And if you read the party platforms and public statements of most Dems in the 1950s through the mid-70's, they sound VERY Republican.

      Today's Democrats used to be called "Communists", and today's Republicans used to be solidly Democrat. Last century's Republicans are now Libertarians, or Anarchists.

      • Re:Let them (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Pfhorrest ( 545131 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @11:28PM (#54474955) Homepage Journal

        Today's Democrats used to be called "Communists"

        Completely the opposite. Eisenhower was further to the left of any politician in recent memory. Reagan and Nixon were further to the left than most Democrats today. The whole spectrum has moved to the right in absolute terms -- but both left and right have moved further from their common center, so from a parochial point of view ignorant of history and the wider world, it looks like the left has moved left, relative to the current center, which is far right of where it used to be.

        See the many sourced answers here for more details:
        https://www.quora.com/The-Left... [quora.com]

        • If we're talking about the political spectrum.There's two axis. From left to right, is based on economics. Top to bottom is either authoritarian or libertarian. Based on that, The Democrats to more center-left on economics, but way WAY up the top on being authoritarian (zero question about that!). The Republicans however are about halfway on the right side (not center) of economics, but lean center-authoritarian. But FWIW, the Tea Part faction is far-right economic and lean heavily libertarian. So, it's sti

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Opportunist ( 166417 )

        Please. From over here in Europe, what your political system looks like is one religious nutjob party that hates everything non-white and one non-religious nutjob party that hates everything white.

        I can't really see anything resembling a political platform in either of them. Mostly because they have pretty much identical stances on everything but religion and whether or not white males are the devil.

      • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday May 24, 2017 @06:57AM (#54476095)

        Reagan at least was a Democrat for quite a while. Back in the early 1970's, he said that he didn't leave the Democrat party; the Democrat party left him.

        Yes Reagan claimed that exact quote but it was bullshit then as it is now. Basically his brand of politics was more conservative than the bulk of the democrats. Reagan's politics drifted right [wikipedia.org] long before he ever switched parties. His claim is exactly backwards for the most part.

        And if you read the party platforms and public statements of most Dems in the 1950s through the mid-70's, they sound VERY Republican.

        That's because many of them were what we think of republicans to be today. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 caused a huge number of democrats (particularly in the south) to switch party affiliations over the next decade. The south used to vote solidly democrat [wikipedia.org] up until 1964. It was Nixon in 1968 that appealed to scared white voters in the south and started the transition to the solidly republican south we see today.

        Today's Democrats used to be called "Communists", and today's Republicans used to be solidly Democrat.

        SOME of today's republicans used to be democrats. Most democrats were politically to the left of those individuals long before they switched parties, largely over what is clearly racial bias after 1964.

  • by psergiu ( 67614 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @08:23PM (#54474099)

    *#61# (call) - Shows if Voice Mail (voice forwarding) is enabled and your Voice Mail number.
    #004# (call) - Disable all Voice Mail forwards.

    If your network is non-standard (or your network operator is a prick) those don't work, call customer support and ask them to disable Voice Mail completely and remove your Voice Mail mailbox from the HLR.

    VoiceMail is useless anyways. If someone really needs to get hold of you, they will call again.

    • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

      It's not useless. If your number is set to "private" or "withheld", then I'm not going to pick up - ever. You need to leave me a message if you want me to contact you.

      How much does it cost for a 1-900 number? Or whatever the automatic reverse-charge service is.

      • by psergiu ( 67614 )

        If i get ANY call with "private" or "withheld" i reject the call right away. 99% chance it's a telemarketer or scammer, 1% chance is a bozo friend that discovered how to hide his caller-id and wants to prank you. Why lose your time listening to the messages ? And also paying for that (listening to VMs is usually not free)

    • Not true. I get voicemail from family all the time. Since it's on the phone they assume I will see it eventually. The phone calls don't get through because I won't answer the phone all the time, I may be in meetings, drivings, at the store, etc. That's the whole purpose of voice mail so that the phone stops becoming your master and demanding that you respond NOW or else!

      • by psergiu ( 67614 )

        The phone is not your master - your family is now - they know you will waste your time listening to whatever idea they have at any moment.

        If you cannot respond NOW, you reject the call. If they call again, then it's something important and you answer. Or they can send a text. Or they can respect you and wait until you have time to call them back.

    • by Pfhorrest ( 545131 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @10:01PM (#54474621) Homepage Journal

      VoiceMail is useless anyways. If someone really needs to get hold of you, they will call again.

      While probably true, it's also true that if someone really needs to get hold of you, they will leave a voicemail. This makes ignoring all calls and only checking voicemail a good way to screen out pointless time-wasting calls. If it's important there will be a voicemail, if there's no voicemail it obviously wasn't that important (or they messages you another way instead).

      • by psergiu ( 67614 )

        I personally almost never leave voicemails. I will call again later if i really need to talk to that person.
        I find-it degrading to basically be told: "yeah - we don't feel like talking to you, speak to this machine instead and maybe we'll consider listening later". I'm calling a person because i want to speak at that moment with that person. Else i would send a text message or email.

        • by Pfhorrest ( 545131 ) on Wednesday May 24, 2017 @12:23AM (#54475161) Homepage Journal

          And I find it degrading to be expected to drop everything else I'm juggling and give my undivided attention to a task I don't yet know warrants that treatment. So please go ahead and send a text or email, or leave a short voicemail, saying what it is you want to talk about -- you don't have to talk at length to the machine, just give me an informative subject line basically -- and I will try to find the time to give you that undivided attention at the appropriate level priority. But I can't afford to let just everyone force their conversation to the top of my never-empty queue of things I'm always having to spend my time on. It's my precious limited time and I'll decide how much to spend on what and when... and mystery conversations about I-know-not-what-yet can stay perpetually at the bottom of that list.

    • Have you ever gotten death threats?
      Letting it ring to voicemail is a way to screen that kind of garbage.
  • but can people delete it without ever having to call their voicemail??
    the cellphone providers should be allowed to give customers the choice to have the unsolicited voicemails deleted automatically as soon as it is recorded, perhaps a whitelist so your voicemail will only accept voicemail from authorized callers like those in your contacts in your phone
  • New Record (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @08:29PM (#54474133)
    I have to hand it to the Republicans - I thought they couldn't come up with any measures that would be any lower or more despised than they already have. I clearly underestimated them, because who would have thought they'd side with telemarketers, of all people?
    • Political parties are all about, at their heart, marketing. The only difference from your average telemarketer is the lack of quality of the product they are selling.

  • FUCK THAT SHIT
  • How do you leave a voicemail without ringing the phone?

    • Re:How? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Jonathan C. Patschke ( 8016 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @09:53PM (#54474585) Homepage

      The typical way companies do this is to issue two call simultaneously, and disconnect whichever call connects to the switch first (under a second). The telco will roue the remaining call to voicemail, and this usually happens before the call notification worms its way through the cellular network to the handset.

      The student loan scammers are already doing this. One company was calling-not-calling my phone five times an hour? Not a distraction? It certainly is! My phone still goes vrrt-vrrt, and I still look up from what I'm doing.

      It's an utter waste of the recipient's time and fails the "What if some large number of people did this?" test.

    • Quick! Everybody get a land line!
    • Slydial
      (267) 759-3425
      (267) sly-dial

  • ought to include tarring, feathering, and dragging those responsible out of town on a rail - first in effigy, then on the living, breathing offenders themselves if the measures applied to their effigies don't convince them to do the right thing. It's time for beleaguered citizens to hand these fuckers their asses - literally if necessary.

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @08:44PM (#54474251) Journal

    And they send you SMS messages. The best way to describe it is *FUCKING ANNOYING*. You listen to you messages and then you hear some shit "Did you know that such and such is a dick and therefore has no business in politics: Vote Asshole - We're full of shit".

    I did the best I could to familiarize myself with the VM controls so I could delete those messages immediately without listening to them. The worst this is you can't leave a message for them telling them to fuck off.

    Yeah, it's *that* annoying.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @08:47PM (#54474259)
    so I'm gonna say this: Why is it whenever something awful comes up it's always the Republicans front and center. Yeah, yeah, there's some blue dog Dems that'll vote for it, but none of them woulda had the gall (and the balls) to actually put a bill on the floor.

    What I'm saying is this: both sides aren't the same. One is objectively worse. And every year we fail to call them on it they get a little bit worse as they realize they can get away with everything while people shout: "But both sides are bad!".
    • by CaseCrash ( 1120869 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @09:46PM (#54474543)
      yeah, I'm all over the conservative/liberal spectrum depending on the issue, but I am getting tired of the GOP's "no matter what happens, party first, everything our guys do is great and we all support it" and the weird adherence they have to lower taxes will lead to more jobs and then higher tax revenues and you don't really need privacy and by that we mean everything you do should be tracked and monetized.
  • 1. Auto delete any voice mail from numbers that are not in my address book.
    2. Access code required to leave a voice mail message. Unauthenticated senders need not apply.
    3. Voice recognition software screens each voice mail, comparing new messages to a centralized database of spam messages.

    I will do whatever it takes to make sure these crap calls fail. At worst, I'll ditch voice mail altogether.

    There is something to be said for putting the telephone out of its misery. With so many illegal telemarketers ig

  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @09:00PM (#54474331)
    This would allow anyone to flood Congresscritter's voicemails silently as well; all you need is to get their number and be on the same provider. No hangups, just long missives they would have to go through until they block your number. They would no doubt spoof, use various numbers, or use unavailable as their number Seriously though, how is this a free speech first amendment issue? I have no obligation to provide them with a platform for their speech, and my phone is private property where the first doesn't apply. What is needed is an app that can read VM and auto delete robo calls. Fight stupidity with technology, because fixing stupid is a no win battle.
  • But how is voice message spam any different than text message spam?

    Apart from some people having to pay to check their voice mail and you don't even get the opportunity to know who it is before incurring the charge?
    Unless the carrier sends you a message saying who sent you a voice message. In that case it's both voice and text message spam.

  • ... then my phone company technically doesn't have to connect it. Not unless they get a cut of that fundraising.

    ISPs are positively salivating about the impending death of net neutrality and the possibility of 'pay to play' for fundraisers' e-mails and web sites. I'm sure the phone companies will jump at the chance to connect GOP candidates with their constituencies .... for a fee.

  • Kill them (Score:2, Interesting)

    Kill anyone who approves or promotes this. Kill them, and make it painful.

  • The best that I can tell, google thinks I'm a gay and interested in a sex change. Maybe google knows something about me that I don't.
    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

      heh its creepy, I followed a forum link to a NES classic wanna be knock off cheap shit chineese famiclone, and everything else on the page was dildo's

      now ebay thinks all I want to look at is dildo's, never mind the FUCKING DECADE of NOT looking at dildo's on EBAY (shit that's what amazon is for)

  • How quaint. I disabled voicemail on my cell phone around five years ago and I've not missed it at all.

    The only people who leave voicemail are either advertising pricks trying to annoy you or your boss wanting to harass you outside of hours.

    If it's important they'll email or text.

  • by TheOuterLinux ( 4778741 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @09:30PM (#54474469)
    is to be able to have your phone answer its own calls. If voice mail can be reached without dialing a phone, I can assure you their Muslim Soviet witch hunt (which is just an excuse) team is working on a way to also answer calls for you too via a similar protocol. It can already be done, but I mean in a legal and easier way. To give you an example, they only made it legal for ISP's to sell your web data so that they can buy it off them rather than go through a court system.
  • Under current federal law, telemarketers and others, like political groups, aren't allowed to launch robocall campaigns targeting cellphones unless they first obtain a consumer's written consent.

    Really? Huh. Then why do I seem to be getting them?

  • That's strange, because I want them to NOT leave voice mail, also without calling me. Maybe we can just agree on the "not calling me" part?

  • Let's not, and say we did.

    I don't like my own party anymore, much less the republicans. I don't want to hear from any of the lying scumbags.

  • I use a prepay phone with an old-style plan (25 cent connection fee and 5 cents per minute), I don't use my phone much and that's cheaper than more recent prepay plans (such as $1 for each day you use it on, etc.) Will they reimburse me for the extra cost incurred by checking my voicemail more often? (Come to think of it, it would probably be worse if I were on the $1 for each day you use it on plan ...)
  • I want Republicans to be rounded up an exterminated, every single one of them Tell you what, if I get my wish, I'll give them their wish. Deal?
  • by Beeftopia ( 1846720 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @11:30PM (#54474967)

    Politicians are minimally responsive to the general concerns of the population. Seems counterintuitive. But they're able to do this because of:
    1) Gerrymandered districts.
    2) Heavy special interest dollars. [opensecrets.org]

    I mean, even when times are rough, incumbency rates are very high. [opensecrets.org]

    What we also need are term limits. Yes, they have costs and benefits. But they approved term limits for the president, one of 537 federal politicians (100 senators + 435 representatives + president + vice president). The reason was to prevent an imperial presidency. We should implement the same thing for the other 535 federal politicians for the same reason - to prevent an imperial Congress.

    I don't see how politicians would ever be persuaded to limit their power however. The 535 limiting the power of the one (president) - certainly. The 535 limiting their own power - I don't see how it could be done voluntarily.

    Once you give politicians more power, it is extraordinarily difficult to take it away.

    We need politicians that are less development officers (fundraisers) and more focused on policy and governing.

    • What we also need are term limits.

      When you give politicians the real possibility of having a lifetime career as a politicians, it focuses them on doing everything they possibly can - as a group - to keep their political office. This makes them takes steps to insulate themselves from the electorate, whose whims may not always be kind to them.

      If being a lifetime politician is not an option, they would hold their seat less dearly, and perhaps be persuaded to govern more effectively and responsively, instead o

    • What we also need are term limits.

      We do...we vote for Representatives every, what, two years, and Senators six years. Their terms are limited to how often we re-elect them. We end their term by voting for somebody else.

      Alas, but despite the dismally low approval rating of Congress, it's always "my Sentator/Representative is fine, it's the rest of them that are worthless crooks!"

      • We do...we vote for Representatives every, what, two years, and Senators six years. Their terms are limited to how often we re-elect them. We end their term by voting for somebody else.

        We also vote for president every four years. And he is term-limited in order to prevent the warping of the system which could occur, as it does in many countries, with long-serving leaders.

    • Term limits don't solve the problem though. If anything, they empower the lobbyists, because lobbyists don't get term-limited, and they wind up knowing the issues far better than your 2-3 term congresscritter. Moreover, that congresscritter is probably going to be currying favor with lobbies, if only because they know that in 4-6 years it's time to look for a new job.

      What you're missing is that long term incumbency isn't the problem itself, it's WHY there's so many long term incumbents. Someone who gets r
      • Term limits don't solve the problem though. If anything, they empower the lobbyists, because lobbyists don't get term-limited, and they wind up knowing the issues far better than your 2-3 term congresscritter.

        I strongly suspect most lobbyists know the the details of their pet issues better than any congresscritter. Lobbyists are professional persuaders. If they have to persuade someone new every few years, they would have a more difficult job, which is good.

        What you're missing is that long term incumbency

  • Here all plans come with voicemail service by default, but it must have been nearly a decade since anyone left me a voicemail, or since I left one. Nobody uses it. The last voicemails that I ever got were recorded ads - ads that start playing the moment the line is connected, so the voicemail recording starts somewhere midway the message.

    I should check my phone to see whether I have voicemail even enabled. It probably is. If ever I get a voicemail, I hope the notification includes instructions on how to lis

  • I use google voice for voicemail and have the voicemail from my cell carrier disabled.

    For my GV setup, all callers except a few direct family and friends get bunted directly to voicemail without it ever ringing anyway. If anyone else wants to get in touch with me, they need to leave a message anyway. If the message doesn't say who they are and what they want, I'll just ignore it. If it does, then I can decide I'm not interested and still ignore it.

    For some reason, so far, most don't want to leave me message

  • Q: What's the best way to ensure everyone stops using voice mail?
    A: Fill up their call-screening-utility/voice-mail with spam.
  • "Sorry, boss, I couldn't get back to you, I didn't get to the voice mail you left me yet"

    And he will just nod and mutter because he knows the problem well himself.

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