FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has unveiled a proposal to require carriers and telephone providers to fight robocalls, after being disappointed some did not voluntarily do so.
“All of us are fed up with robocalls—including me,” said Chairman Pai. “We’ve taken many steps to stem the tide of spoofed robocalls. I’m excited about the proposal I’m advancing today: requiring phone companies to adopt a caller ID authentication framework called STIR/SHAKEN. Widespread implementation will give American consumers a lot more peace of mind when they pick up the phone. Last year, I demanded that major phone companies voluntarily deploy STIR/SHAKEN, and a number of them did. But it’s clear that FCC action is needed to spur across-the-board deployment of this important technology. There is no silver bullet when it comes to eradicating robocalls, but this is a critical shot at the target.”
Spoofing is a favorite of robocallers who will make their number appear as if it is from the same area code or exchange as the person they’re calling, making it more likely the receiver will pick up. STIR/SHAKEN is a protocol that helps carriers verify the identify of a caller to ensure the number is not being spoofed. If the call spans carriers, the originating carrier passes on the verification to the receiving carrier, and a “Call Verified” badge will show up on the receiver’s caller ID.
The FCC had previously recommended that carriers begin implementing STIR/SHAKEN but, based on Chairman Pai’s proposal, some of them did not comply. Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T have all committed to supporting the protocol.