The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


March 1, 2014

MEIER: More robo-call news

I wrote in early January 2014 about robo-calls on free medical alert systems. Robo-calls are recorded messages sent out by automated dialers, often by the thousands every minute. Many times they come with disguised phone numbers which complicate tracing them.

Federal law outlawed these types of calls in 2009, except in cases of political speech, non-profits, or when consumers have an existing business relationship with a firm. For instance, if a consumer has a Sears credit card, the law allowed Sears to make robo-calls.

Well, the Federal Trade Commission tightened up these exemptions. According to Consumer Reports in October 2013 the FTC adopted new rules on robo-calls, prohibiting all such sales-related calls, unless the caller received your prior written, electronic or voice consent to receive those calls.

Will the new rules stop these calls? No. Consumers still need to keep reporting all these calls to the Do Not Call Registry. Call them at (888) 382-1222 or go online to

The Federal Trade Commission acknowledged several years ago enforcement won’t stop these calls. They sponsored a contest in 2012, awarding $50,000 to anyone inventing a technology to block robo-calls. Consumer Reports reported on one winner, a company called Nomorobo. Their technology is available at no charge to individuals, and automatically hangs up on robo-callers after one ring.

But…there is a catch.

The technology only works if your phone provider offers “simultaneous ring.” So far, the only phone providers offering this are Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers. What is VoIP? It is phone service over the internet, instead of through traditional phone wires or switches. Skype is a VoIP service used by many people.

I checked the Nomorobo website at to find out how to use it. The website asks its visitors to identify their phone provider, then reports if that phone provider supports their technology.

Text Only
  • Vote fraud myths meet voting rights reality Before she was allowed to register and vote for the first time in Franklin County, North Carolina, Rosanell Eaton had to read the entire preamble to the U.S. Constitution out loud in front of three men in the county courthouse.Eaton is black. The thr

    July 21, 2014 1 Story

  • UI needs to keep its admission standards high There’s been a lot of talk lately — most of it coming from the leadership of the Iowa state Board of Regents — about the University of Iowa not being passionate enough about its recruitment of in-state undergraduates. Regent president Bruce Rastetter

    July 21, 2014

  • 7-21-14 David Helscher mug Prepare for possible effects of Fed's decisions It has been more than 5 years since the Federal Reserve has taken unprecedented steps to support the economy through purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed debt securities. This has generally been called quantitative easing and has not been withou

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • What it was like as a teen

    Ten years ago today, I’d like to think I was checking out educational books to prepare myself for my upcoming journey through college.

    In reality, I was probably playing video games and thinking of ways to have fun, while trying not to get into too much trouble.

    July 20, 2014

  • Randy Meier Spoofing practices resurface Spoofing is the practice deliberately falsifying a telephone number and/or name relayed to the caller ID feature of a phone. This type of call right now is the number one phone scam I receive. Many people report receiving calls appearing on caller ID

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Impeaching the president Sarah Palin is right about impeaching President Obama.No, not that the president should be impeached. But Palin is correct in arguing that, for those who assert that Obama has grievously abused his executive authority, impeachment is the proper cours

    July 18, 2014

  • Celebrate the renovated bandshell? Yes, but... I attended the ribbon cutting for the renovated bandshell on July 1. I was a proud member of the Vision 8 team that enabled the project. However, the previous Friday night, June 27, I was also a member of the cast of “Annie Get Your Gun.”When the Nat

    July 18, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Posturing, predictions fly as SEC turns to a new season

    Little news is truly made at the Southeastern Conference's media days, where players and coaches predict, insinuate and deflect in advance of this fall's college football season.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Our unwillingness to defend ourselves The U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 2012 losses because of personal identity theft totaled $24.7 billion. The money losses from identity theft pale in comparison with the costs of paperwork, time and inconvenience

    July 17, 2014

  • Alan Dixon 'Al the Pal' will be missed What did former U.S. Sen. Alan J. Dixon, who died Sunday at the age of 86, do for you?For starters, open your purse or wallet and take a good look at your driver’s license.Before Dixon was Illinois secretary of state from 1977 to 1981, licenses consi

    July 17, 2014


With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

     View Results