Caller ID is feeding one of the very problems it was developed to stop: junk calls.
Illegitimate robocallers, or outfits that flood American landlines with marketing calls, use the decades-old identification system to make money, even when no one picks up.
While scammers’ biggest paydays come from tricking victims into handing over credit card or bank account information, many robocallers make incremental cash along the way, thanks to little-known databases that try to identify who is calling.
Each time a caller’s name is displayed, phone companies pay small fees—typically fractions of pennies—to databases that store such records. Some of these fees are handed back to the caller... “It’s slow nickels, not fast dimes” for scammers, but it helps offset the costs of making the call.. Those landlines are increasingly on the receiving end of robocalls masquerading as telemarketers, the Internal Revenue Service or immigration officials... Scammers purchase a block of unused telephone numbers and submit bogus names and addresses for those numbers to caller-ID databases.They often hire call centers to blast out millions of robocalls, which triggers queries to caller-ID databases. Some databases are run by carriers themselves such as AT&T Inc.,while others are operated by other companies such as Neustar Inc.. The recipient’s carrier pays a small fee for that information request when it delivers a name, typically between $0.0025 and $0.005.. Through its revenue-sharing program, customers can make $2,500 to $5,000 a month per five million queries made to caller ID databases.. A big obstacle, telecommunications lawyers say, is that not all robocalls are illegal. Some are made for legitimate purposes such as doctors appointment reminders or political campaigns.
Brave’s alternative looks standard-issue at first: there’s ad-blocking (fingerprinting protection and script blocking), support for password managers (LastPass, Dashlane and 1Password) and HTTPS Anywhere integration. It mentions anti-phishing protection. However, under the hood:
Brave currently runs an experimental automated and anonymous micro-donation system for publishers called Brave Payments.
Originally based on Bitcoin, this, it transpires, is about to be replaced by an Ethereum-based payments system called Basic Attention Tokens (BAT). When launched to fund the startup behind Brave earlier this year, BATs were seized upon by speculators who think they’ll increase in value.