Connect with us

Cars

Robocalls: FCC wants them blocked by default but you may pay extra

Published

on

Robocall from Google? Hang up. It’s a scam
While it’s difficult to fight phone spam, we have some suggestions that may help make things a bit less annoying.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) finally has a plan for how US carriers can deal with the scourge of spammy robocalls, which are the commission’s top complaint each year. But consumers could end up paying extra for the benefit of carriers blocking those calls.  

Ahead of a vote on his proposal to deal with robocalls, FCC chairman Ajit Pai on Thursday proclaimed that spam calls should be blocked by default. 

“If you have a cellphone, you probably love it and hate it. The main reason you hate it is very likely to be robocalls,” Pai wrote. 

SEE: 10 tips for new cybersecurity pros (free PDF)

The FCC on Thursday ended up voting in favor of allowing carriers to “aggressively block unwanted robocalls before they reach consumers”. 

Under the plan, voice carriers can block unwanted calls by default, reversing current practices, which allow consumers to opt in to robocall blocking services. 

Carriers can block unwanted calls based on “reasonable call analytics”, so long as users are informed and can opt out of the blocking.

The ruling also clears the path for carriers to offer consumers the choice to opt in to a service that blocks any number that’s not on the user’s contact list or another list of approved numbers, otherwise known as a ‘whitelist’.     

Every year Americans are inundated by tens of billions of spam and scam calls, and every year the problem gets worse, undermining the benefits of having a mobile phone. Some estimates suggest phone users receive 10 unwanted calls per month.   

“If Americans can agree on anything these days, it’s that they’re fed up with robocalls,” wrote Pai in his pre-vote pitch to the public. 

“The scam calls. The calls from foreign countries at 2am. The deceptive caller ID ‘spoofing’, which happens when a caller falsifies caller ID information to make it look as if they’re calling from your area code.”

The FCC also officially tabled the proposal to force carriers to implement the Shaken/Stir caller ID authentication framework if service providers haven’t already done so by the end of the year. 

The Shaken/Stir plan would see carriers ‘sign’ calls originating from their network, which would be validated by other carriers before reaching a phone. It would help carriers rapidly attribute calls to an entity. 

However, there is a potential catch to this plan for consumers, since carriers can legally charge consumers for robocall blocking services.

SEE: IT pro’s guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (free PDF)

FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who was appointed to the role by the Obama administration, voted to approve Pai’s robocall-blocking proposal, but dissented in part.  

Following the vote, she tweeted that the FCC “refuses to prevent new consumer charges and fees to block these awful calls. That’s not right. We should stop robocalls and do it for FREE.”

“As far as this new blocking technology goes, so far, so good. But there is one devastating problem with our approach. There is nothing in our decision today that prevents carriers from charging consumers for this blocking technology to stop robocalls,” she said in her statement on the vote. 

“I think robocall solutions should be free to consumers. Full stop. I do not think that this agency should pat itself on the back for its efforts to reduce robocalls and then tell consumers to pay up. 

“They are already paying the price – in scams flooding our phone lines; wasted time responding to false and fraudulent calls offering us what we did not ask for, do not want, and do not need; and a growing distrust in our most basic communications.”

More on robocalls



Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cars

2022 Honda Passport is hitting the rally circuit

Published

on

The 2022 Honda Passport is hitting the rally circuit as the Japanese automaker fortifies its motorsports pedigree. And similar to the Honda HPD Ridgeline that competed at the recently concluded Rebelle Rally, the Passport is going rallying with a team of Honda engineers led by suspension test engineer and driver Chris Sladek and chassis design engineer and co-driver Gabriel Nieves. Both men are from Honda’s North American Auto Development Center in East Liberty, Ohio.

Honda recently debuted its redesigned 2022 Passport five-seat crossover SUV, which now gets a more rugged TrailSport variant with chunkier aesthetics, 18-inch wheels, and 8.1-inches of ground clearance. However, the rally version is the brainchild of the Honda Performance Development (HPD) Maxxis Rally racing team. It has 17-inch BRAID Winrace T rally wheels, Maxxis RAZR M/T or RAZR A/T tires, rear differential skid plates, and an aluminum oil pan cover to protect vital underpinnings from impacts and bumps.

Other changes include protective high-density polyethylene panels on the fuel tank, Carbotech XP12 brake pads, and racing-bred brake fluid to offer reliable stopping power. It also has OMP racing seats with six-point competition harnesses, a roll cage, a rally computer, and a fire suppression system. Of course, it gets distinctive exterior livery courtesy of HPD.

The Passport rally car is also lighter than stock with Lexan polycarbonate rear glass and deleted rear seats. Other changes like a hydraulic handbrake are mandatory, while the modified exhaust offers a louder exhaust sound while reducing engine backpressure to improve performance.

Meanwhile, there are no changes under the hood. The 2022 Honda Passport rally car is hitting the rally circuits with a stock 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 engine, a nine-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters, and i-VTM4 all-wheel-drive system. “The fact that we didn’t make any modifications to the 2022 Honda Passport’s drivetrain or suspension for such punishing terrain and competition speaks volumes to the capability and performance that comes standard in the Passport,” said driver Chris Sladek.

Honda’s Passport rally truck made its racing debut at the Lake Superior Performance Rally (LSPR) in Michigan last October 15 to 16. The team finished 22nd out of 42 regional competitors while placing 4th out of six in the Limited 4WD class. The Passport will see more action throughout the 2022 American Rally Association (ARA) series.

Continue Reading

Cars

The 2022 Honda Civic Si aims right for the sweet-spot

Published

on

Honda promised something hotter from the 11th Gen Civic line, and the 2022 Civic Si is just that. Taking the well-received Civic Sedan, and then pumping in some extra performance, it should bridge the gap between now and the new Civic Type R expected to launch sometime next year – and be more affordable than that car, too.

It’s got some solid underpinnings to start from, with both the Civic Sedan and the Civic Hatchback getting praise for their handling and poise. This new Civic Si, meanwhile, upgrades Honda’s turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder VTEC engine, and then pairs it with a 6-speed manual transmission.

The engine is good for 200 horsepower arriving at 6,000 rpm, with a 6,500 rpm redline. Torque is 192 lb-ft, now arriving between 1,800 and 5,000 rpm; that, Honda points out, is 300 rpm sooner than the outgoing car. The broader power curve and a lighter flywheel should make for a car that responds more rapidly, the automaker promises.

As for the transmission, it’s an improved 6-speed manual with the rev-matching system from the Civic Type R. The result, Honda says, is a better feel and 10-percent shorter throws. You’ll have to like it, mind, since Honda won’t be offering the 2022 Civic Si with an automatic option. Fuel economy comes in at 27 mpg in the city, 37 mpg on the highway, and 31 mpg combined.

A helical limited-slip front differential is standard, along with a new Active Sound Control system which boosts the natural engine noise in the cabin. Honda insists it’ll add to, rather than detract from, the overall driving experience. Bigger brakes have been fitted, with 12.3-inch front rotors growing a whole 1.2-inches over the standard Civic Sedan, while the rear rotors grow almost an inch to 11.1-inches total. 235/40R18 all-season performance rubber is standard, with summer tires a factory option.

As with the Sedan and Hatchback, the new Si benefits from the 11th Gen Civic’s stiffer body and longer wheelbase. Honda then adds 8-percent stiffer front springs and 54-percent stiffer rear springs, together with new dampers, reinforced upper front MacPherson struts for better cornering, and thicker front and rear stabilizer bars to cut body roll. The Type R donates compliance bushings, upper arms, and lower B-arms, while steering gets an upgrade courtesy of a stiffer torsion bar.

There are still Normal and Sport drive modes, but an Individual mode has been added. That allows the driver to choose their mix of engine response, steering weight, and instrumentation theme settings.

Outside, there’s a new upper front bumper, a reworked rear bumper with twin oval exhaust tips, a front spoiler, and a gloss black rear spoiler. More gloss black appears on the mirrors and window surrounds, and Honda makes LED lighting front and rear standard, too. 18-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels – in an Si-specific matte black – are standard, too, and the Blazing Orange Pearl paint is exclusive to the car as well.

Inside, Si-exclusive sport seats with integrated head restraints and more shoulder and lower thigh support are included, along with sport pedals and red contrast stitching. The honeycomb dash panel is carried over, but with red trim now. A 7-inch driver display and 9-inch infotainment touchscreen are standard, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Honda also adds the 12-speaker Bose audio system, and Honda Sensing is standard, too.

Pricing will be confirmed closer to the 2022 Civic Si’s arrival in dealerships later in 2021.

Continue Reading

Cars

Toyota Tacozilla inspired by 1970s Chinook campervans to debut at SEMA

Published

on

We bet you haven’t heard of the Toyota Chinook campervan, but we’re pretty sure you’ll be looking forward to Toyota’s Tacozilla campervan concept at this year’s SEMA show in November. The Toyota Chinook is a collaboration between the Japanese automaker and American wagon maker Chinook RV. The first Toyota Chinooks entered the market in 1973 and were essentially motorhomes with a pop-up roof built on a long-wheelbase Toyota half-ton truck chassis.

And since it’s a Toyota, Chinook campervans have the same bulletproof reliability as Toyota trucks. The folks at Toyota’s motorsports tech center in Texas created Tacozilla with the Chinook in mind, but it now has a more contemporary design to cope with seriously rugged terrain.

Starting with a Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport manual, the team conceptualized a bed-mounted micro-house with a cab-over design and a stubby rear end to lessen the approach and departure angles, making it effortless to find a suitable camping spot in the wild outdoors. According to project manager Marty Schwerter, Tacozilla will be sleeker, more aerodynamic, and more fuel-efficient than any Toyota Chinook before it, not to mention more off-road capable than ever before.

Toyota claims the camper is tall enough for a six-foot two-inch person to stand while cooking meals in the built-in kitchenette. The home quarters will also have a table, a standard toilet, and a two-person bed. Tacozilla will also come in a unique retro-inspired red, white, and orange livery as those vintage Chinook campervans. “Racecars are cool looking,” added Schwerter. “I want campers to be cool looking, too.”

And while the old Chinooks were motivated by Toyota’s 18R motor, Tacozilla will have a standard 3.5-liter V6 engine with 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. The initial rendering also features unique off-road wheels and chunkier Cooper Discoverer all-terrain tires.

Unlike other concepts, the Toyota Tacozilla is as real as it gets. The automaker is working overtime in finishing the prototype just in time for the 2021 SEMA Show this November 2 to 5, 2021. The question is, can we expect Tacozillas at Toyota dealerships soon? If Toyota did it in the early 1970s, we could see no reason it won’t be doing it again. But will Tacozilla be as cool as those retrolicious Chinook camper vans? We’ll have to wait for SEMA to find out.

Continue Reading

Trending