Interesting read: A private sector solution to political robocalls

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Just caught this over on POLITICO Influence…

Political robocalls are legal and specifically exempt from the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call list. But one entrepreneur has developed a device that would block illegal robocalls – and give users the option to opt out of (legal) political calls as well. It’s a private sector solution to something that’s been debated in Congress.

The Kedlin Company is hunting around for funds to bring the Call Control Home to market. The device – which actually began first as an app for smartphones – plugs into landline phones. “I’m sure it’s going to ruffle some feathers with politicians,” said Ben Sharpe , CEO of the company. But, he said “it comes down with a consumer’s choice.” On the other hand, the FTC is reportedly excited about the possibility of a consumer product that can stop illegal robocalls – one of the biggest consumer headaches that the agency has to deal with.

The FTC convened a summit with private sector stakeholders in October of last year to discuss the issue of scam robocalls, which often prey on the elderly. ‘Through that summit, we were able to make some connections with some of the state law enforcement agencies” and other federal and state policymakers, said Sharpe. Worth watching: whether the company faces any regulatory hurdles – on one hand, it’s solving a problem the FTC wants solved; on the other hand, it could block a favorite tool of political campaigns and consultants.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) also has a bill that would allow consumers to opt out of political robocalls as well in the ‘Do Not Call’ registry. ‘The Robo COP Act will solve this problem for the American people by allowing them to opt out of these calls by signing up for the federal government’s ‘Do Not Call’ list,” Foxx said in a March statement.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.