Written by Ernesto Mendieta

The FCC’s Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the Commission will host a summit on July 11, 2019 to examine industry’s progress implementing caller ID authentication standards to combat illegal robocalls and caller ID spoofing. The specific standards that will be discussed go by the acronyms SHAKEN (Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) and STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited).

Chairman Pai has consistently stated that he expects phone companies to implement SHAKEN/STIR and begin providing caller ID authentication for consumers before the end of the year.  The Chairman expects that industry-based efforts will allow this implementation to be fulfilled without the need of regulatory intervention, although he has made clear that the Commission would consider it if necessary.

Under the SHAKEN/STIR framework, the originating telephone calls and telephone numbers associated with those calls would have their caller ID “signed” as legitimate by originating carriers and validated by other carriers before reaching consumers. The framework digitally validates the handoff of phone calls, allowing the phone company of the consumer receiving the call to verify that a call is from the person making it.

The purpose of the summit that will be held at the FCC Headquarters in Washington, D.C. will be to  “showcase the progress that major providers have made toward reaching that goal and provide an opportunity to identify any challenges to implementation and how best to overcome them.”  The event will be open to the public and the Commission is encouraging interested stakeholders to participate.

The announcement has caused mixed reactions. TCPA Defense Force member Artin Betpera stated to Law360 that the summit is “a positive sign that the FCC is taking the SHAKEN/STIR call authentication framework seriously.”

Meanwhile, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel suggested that instead of hosting an event to continue discussing the issue, the Commission should act against illegal robocalls and caller ID spoofing by, for example, mandating carriers to immediately start using call authentication technology or making available to consumers free tools to block these calls.

 


 


 

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