IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Today’s FCC deadline forces telcos to combat robocalls

Mandated technology will help reduce phone number spoofing

"Scammer calling" message on a smartphone screen

Today is the deadline for telecommunications companies to implement technology protections designed to protect consumers from robocall scammers. 

Under legislation introduced 18 months ago, telcos must have implemented technology as of today that verifies callers on their networks or face potential penalties. 

The protocol designed to stop scam robocallers is called secure telephone identity revisited (STIR). It applies digital signatures to telephone numbers from calling parties on session initiation protocol (SIP) networks. Signature-based handling of asserted information using toKENs (SHAKEN) is a set of STIR implementation guidelines for carriers. 

A call made on a STIR/SHAKEN-enabled network sends an authentication request and originating phone number to a STIR authentication service. 

The service checks that the caller is authorized to use that number and then signs a digital token that it sends to another STIR server on the recipient's network. That second server checks the legitimacy of the token against its database before passing the call to the recipient. 

The technology is designed to stop robocall scammers spoofing numbers from reaching victims. 

Robocalls have become a massive nuisance in the US, where consumers received 77 billion unwanted robocalls in 2020 alone, according to the Transaction Network Services 2021 Robocall Investigation Report

The FCC originally asked the US telecommunications industry to adopt these anti-spoofing protocols voluntarily in November 2018 under Chairman Ajit Pai, after a consultation on methods to verify caller information. The industry put together a stakeholder group for implementing the technology, 

This attempt to introduce STIR/SHAKEN voluntarily stalled. In December 2019, Congress got tough, passing the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, which required implementing the technology within 18 months. In March 2020, Pai proposed a set of rules implementing that mandate. 

Statistics suggest that the mandate has already started to work. The number of robocalls targeting US consumers dropped 28% from 2019, which TNS attributes in part to the implementation of STIR/SHAKEN and filtering apps. Over a third of the calls passing over carrier networks in December 2020 were signed using the technology, up from 21% in January 2020. 

Featured Resources

Three ways manual coding is killing your business productivity

...and how you can fix it

Free Download

Goodbye broadcasts, hello conversations

Drive conversations across the funnel with the WhatsApp Business Platform

Free Download

Winning with multi-cloud

How to drive a competitive advantage and overcome data integration challenges

Free Download

Talking to a business should feel like messaging a friend

Managing customer conversations at scale with the WhatsApp Business Platform

Free Download

Recommended

Facilitating Fintech
Whitepaper

Facilitating Fintech

5 Oct 2022
White House proposes fresh Bill of Rights to limit AI threats
artificial intelligence (AI)

White House proposes fresh Bill of Rights to limit AI threats

5 Oct 2022
Best security systems for business
cyber security

Best security systems for business

4 Oct 2022
Frontpoint review
cyber security

Frontpoint review

4 Oct 2022

Most Popular

Vodafone UK confirms talks to merge with Three are underway
mergers and acquisitions

Vodafone UK confirms talks to merge with Three are underway

3 Oct 2022
BT's new platform promises to slash AI development time from months to days
artificial intelligence (AI)

BT's new platform promises to slash AI development time from months to days

3 Oct 2022
How to secure your hybrid workforce
Advertisement Feature

How to secure your hybrid workforce

23 Sep 2022