|"American consumers are sick and tired of unwanted robocalls, this consumer among them. Caller ID authentication will be a significant step towards ending the scourge of spoofed robocalls. It's time for carriers to implement robust caller ID authentication." – FCC Chairman Ajit Pai|
How Will Caller ID Authentication Help Consumers?
Caller ID authentication is a new system aimed at combating illegal caller ID spoofing. Such a system is critical to protecting Americans from scam spoofed robocalls and would erode the ability of callers to illegally spoof a caller ID, which scam artists use to trick Americans into answering their phones when they shouldn't. Additionally, consumers and law enforcement alike could more readily identify the source of illegal robocalls and reduce their impact. Industry stakeholders are working to implement caller ID authentication, which is sometimes called SHAKEN/STIR. Once implemented, it should greatly help the accuracy of caller ID information and should provide consumers with helpful information for determining which calls are authenticated.
What Does SHAKEN/STIR Mean?
SHAKEN/STIR is a framework of interconnected standards. SHAKEN/STIR are acronyms for Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) and the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) standards. This means that calls traveling through interconnected phone networks would have their caller ID "signed" as legitimate by originating carriers and validated by other carriers before reaching consumers. SHAKEN/STIR digitally validates the handoff of phone calls passing through the complex web of networks, allowing the phone company of the consumer receiving the call to verify that a call is from the person making it.
What Is the FCC Doing?
The Commission prompted real progress in call authentication by starting a formal inquiry in July 2017, seeking public input on the best way to establish a reliable system to verify the caller ID information that appears on the recipient's phone. This resulted in a North American Numbering Council-recommended framework for implementing an industry-developed standard to help prevent illegal attempts to trick consumers through caller ID spoofing. SHAKEN/STIR should establish a reliable authentication system that will help strengthen call-blocking services and unmask spoofed calls. Chairman Pai welcomed this effort and supports the goal of quick implementation.
In November 2018, Chairman Pai demanded that the phone industry adopt a robust call authentication system to combat illegal caller ID spoofing and implement that system within a year. Chairman Pai sent letters to voice providers asking those that apparently had not yet established concrete plans to protect their customers using the SHAKEN/STIR standards to do so without delay. In February 2019, Chairman Pai welcomed many carriers' commitment to meeting his timeline for implementation, called on others to "catch up," and made clear that the FCC would consider regulatory intervention if necessary.
- Chairman Pai Demands Industry Adopt Protocols to End Illegal Spoofing (November 5, 2018)
- Chairman Pai Welcomes Call Authentication Framework (May 14, 2018)
- Chairman Pai: Caller ID Authentication Necessary for Consumers in 2019 (February 13, 2019)
- FCC Urges More in Phone Industry to Join in Tracing Scam Robocalls (November 6, 2018)
- North American Numbering Council: Call Authentication Trust Anchor: Selection of Governance Authority and Timely Deployment of SHAKEN/STIR (May 3, 2018)
- Reliable Call Authentication System Notice of Inquiry (July 13, 2017)
- Chairman Pai's Statement on Robocall Strike Force Report (PDF, April 28, 2017)
- Robocall Strike Force Report (PDF, April 28, 2017)
- Robocall Strike Force Report (PDF, Oct. 26, 2016)
FCC Consumer Resources
- Consumer Tips and Information about Caller ID Spoofing
- Consumer Guide: Stop Unwanted Robocalls and Texts
- FCC Consumer Help Center | File a Consumer Complaint with the FCC