Aug. 11th, 2017

peristaltor: (Default)
So, like many out there, I have this pocket phone. It's neither the latest nor the greatest, and it never will be; I have simple needs. Some calls made, some calls received, a bunch of texts. I don't even have the data plan connected. I can't be bothered with that.

But since I've had the number for many years over many phones, a lot of people know that number and use it.

Including, as of about two months ago, spammers.

My phone used to sit in my pocket and not make so much as a peep for days. Now, especially during business hours on weekdays, it can chime away with calls from Florida, Maryland, California, New York, New Jersey, and a bunch of the other states, places where I know maybe one or two people. If I don't recognize the number, I don't answer. But seriously, ten junk calls a day is one too many.

We have become hostage to these assholes, these direct-dialing phishers of info, these hucksters trying to indebt me further or sell me a craptastic thing. Actually, according to the name on the texts, sell some asshole named Jeremy those things, since it seems he is the jerk wad who entered my number wherever numbers go to be so cursed.

Yes, I am aware that I can block numbers; but I would have to block individual junk numbers. Just a glance at my call history screen will tell you that I have many, many of these numbers to block.

Two days ago, though, I got a wonderful, awful idea.

The phone companies have those numbers in their system, don't they? They should be the ones blocking the numbers, and not just for my phone. They can probably look at their call logs and see exactly what numbers pollute their customers and plague their systems. They should be the ones to take the first action.

Ah, but they would first need some information, some flag that an abuse has occurred.

And then it hit me: We could give them that flag.

Imagine this: You get a junk call. Immediately after that call, you dial *86, as in eighty-six, the slang term for get rid of something. I'm not suggesting that this single entry would block that number for you, the end user. (Well, maybe, but not just yet. Bear with me.)

The value added to this feature is that it is a collective ability. Once the number gets enough people flagging it with *86, the company would have to open a file. Get too many of these flags, and a warning letter would be sent to the owner of the number. Get waaay too many, and the number would be blocked at the dialing phone, meaning that number would get not a dial tone, but a message saying something to the effect of "We're sorry, but this number has been flagged for abusive use. To hear the exact information that has generated this action, press one" or something like that.

Until they go through a process to clear the number's record, they lose their dialing privileges. If nothing is done, the number is deleted from any and all systems.

I could expound on the difference between positive and negative freedom of speech and other esoteric philosophical musings, but for now I just thought I'd throw that out there and see what others, like your own good selves, think about the notion.

So, what do you think? Good idea? One worth pursuing?

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peristaltor

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