FCC Mandates That Carriers Adopt Call Authentication To Combat Relentless Robocalls

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The FCC has issued a mandate that all phone companies must support, which will help to fight spoofed robocalls. The FCC adopted new rules on March 31, 2020 that require the implementation of caller ID authentication using technical standards known as STIR/SHAKEN. The FCC says the new rules will further its efforts to protect consumers against malicious caller ID spoofing.

Caller ID spoofing is a method used by robocall scam campaigns to trick users into answering their phones. STIR/SHAKEN allows the phone company to verify that caller ID information transmitted with the call matches the caller phone number. According to the FCC, widespread deployment of this new protocol will reduce the effectiveness of illegal spoofing and help law enforcement to identify bad actors.

Phone companies will also be better equipped to identify calls with the illegally spoofed caller ID information before the calls reach subscribers. The rules require all originating and terminating voice service providers to implement STIR/SHAKEN in the Internet Protocol portions of their networks by June 30, 2021. The date is consistent with Congress' direction with its recently-enacted TRACED Act. The FCC previously sought comments on mandating STIR/SHAKEN in June 2019.

The FCC mandate did extend the implementation deadline by one year for small voice service providers. According to the FCC, the benefits of eliminating the wasted time and nuisance caused by illegal scam robocalls will exceed $3 billion annually and STIR/SHAKEN is an important part of realizing the cost savings. The FCC says that the protocol will also help restore consumer trust in caller ID information. 

In other FCC news, the agency warned that wireless carriers have been selling user location data in violation of federal law in February.

Tags:  Spoofing, FCC, spam, Robocalls