Consumer protection services falter during government shutdown

Federal websites meant to protect American consumers remain unavailable amid the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

The services, which are offered on websites associated with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC), were originally shuttered on Dec. 28.

Aside from the FTC’s Twitter account becoming inactive, websites such as donotcall.gov, which operates the National Do Not Call Registry, are also inaccessible.

The Do Not Call Registry allows both consumers to add their numbers to the list and telemarketers to check whether they are allowed to contact a number before making a call.

Another site affected by the shutdown includes identitytheft.gov, where consumers can “report and recover from identity theft.”

Although the FCC’s main website remains active, the Verge notes that its page for consumer complaints now merely offers a document discussing the impact of the shutdown.

The lapse in federal funding has also led to an inability to enforce robocalling regulations.

“The number of robo-calls consumers are receiving is insane,” Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said Thursday, according to the Washington Post. “The problem just keeps growing. Shutting down the government is not going to help.”

The consumer protection issues, however, aren’t the only problems to arise for federal websites as the shutdown stretches on.

Numerous other government websites have also become inaccessible due to their HTTPS certificates expiring while no one was around to update them.

These incidents come as President Donald Trump and Democrats spar over federal funding and specifically whether $5.7 billion should be allocated for a wall on the country’s southern border.

Mikael Thalen

Mikael Thalen

Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter based in Seattle, covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.