OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter today welcomed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to Oklahoma.
The two scheduled the meeting as part of the chairman’s first trip to Oklahoma as head of the FCC to discuss consumer protection issues, namely robocalls, and the state and federal government’s response in combatting the burdensome scams associated with them.
The meeting between Attorney General Hunter and Chairman Pai comes after the chairman last week proposed sweeping measures that would, among other things, empower service providers to block illegal robocalls by default before they reach consumers’ phones. Commissioners are set to vote on his proposals at the FCC’s June 6 meeting.
The measures to give service providers the authority to block illegal robocalls are in line with what Attorney General Hunter and 34 of his attorneys general colleagues called for last October.
Attorney General Hunter said with the number of illegal robocalls expected to increase in 2019 from the nearly 48 billion last year, the chairman’s efforts are commendable.
“It’s an honor to welcome Chairman Pai to Oklahoma and discuss ways we can strengthen state and federal partnerships on consumer protection issues, particularly in opposing robocalls,” Attorney General Hunter said. “As we have seen recently, these scams are becoming more advanced. Con artists have found ways to siphon money or steal personal information from individuals who simply answer the phone, leaving them susceptible to identity theft. This fight is going to take both the federal and state government working together to do what’s best for all citizens. I applaud the chairman for his leadership in making this complex issue a top priority.
“Additionally, I appreciate his efforts in working with the Department of Corrections to combat contraband cellphones in prisons, which pose a real threat to public safety both inside and outside of prison facilities.”
During Chairman Pai’s trip to the state, he met with Department of Corrections officials to tour a prison and talk about what tools the state prison system needs to combat contraband cellphones. According to the Department of Corrections, officials nearly 50,000 cellphones have been seized from inmates serving time in a corrections facility since 2011.
“Combatting illegal robocalls and spoofing scams is my top consumer protection priority as FCC Chairman – and I’m grateful for the work of partners like Attorney General Hunter in combatting fraud and fighting scams,” Chairman Pai said. “Both our agencies hear from Oklahomans who are fed up with scam calls that not only annoy us but seek to defraud us. While we continue to institute strong federal policies, take aggressive enforcement actions, and educate the public to protect themselves from scammers, partnerships like this one with state leaders including Attorney General Hunter are vital to fighting this scourge with every tool we have. I want to thank the Attorney General and his team for welcoming me and, most importantly, their work to protect the people of Oklahoma.”
Chairman Pai also made a stop at the East Central Electric Coop in Okmulgee to discuss rural broadband deployment initiatives and the $22.2 million the company is receiving as part of the FCC’s Connect America Fund. The grant will provide gigabit-speed broadband to around 7,700 locations in rural parts of Oklahoma. He also visited with tribal officials with the Chickasaw Nation in Ada on the topic of Tribal broadband issues.
Chairman Pai also visited the Oklahoma City 911 call center and met with senior public safety officials to offer the FCC’s support following recent weather events in the state.
Attorney General Hunter and FCC Chairman Pai discuss ways the state and federal government plan to strengthen partnerships to combat robocalls.
Attorney General Hunter and his team visit with FCC Chairman Pai in the attorney general's Oklahoma City office on Thursday afternoon.