How Will Caller ID Authentication Help Consumers?

Caller ID authentication technology enables subscribers to trust that callers are who they say they are, reducing the effectiveness of fraudulently spoofed calls. This technology is critical to protecting Americans from scams using spoofed robocalls because it erodes the ability of callers to illegally spoof a caller ID, which scammers use to trick Americans into answering their phones when they shouldn't. Caller ID authentication technology also allows consumers and law enforcement alike to more readily identify the source of illegal robocalls and reduce their frequency and impact. The STIR/SHAKEN framework, an industry-standard caller ID authentication technology, is a set of technical standards and protocols that allow for the authentication and verification of caller ID information for calls carried over Internet Protocol (IP) networks. As implementation continues to progress, it will give Americans more confidence that the caller ID information they receive is accurate and will allow voice service providers to provide helpful information to their consumers about which calls to answer.

What Does STIR/SHAKEN Mean?

STIR/SHAKEN is a framework of interconnected standards. STIR/SHAKEN are acronyms for the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) 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. STIR/SHAKEN 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 in fact from the number displayed on Caller ID.

What Is the FCC Doing?

FCC rules require providers to implement STIR/SHAKEN in the Internet Protocol (IP) portions of their networks by June 30, 2021, so that Americans can benefit from this important technology and start to have faith in their phone calls again. In September 2020, the FCC further implemented Congressional direction from the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED Act) and adopted more rules to ensure that even those providers unable to implement STIR/SHAKEN right away are still taking steps to protect their customers from illegal robocalls.

As of April 20, 2021, the FCC requires that all providers certify in the Robocall Mitigation Database that they have fully implemented STIR/SHAKEN or have instituted a robocall mitigation program to ensure that they are not originating illegal robocalls. All providers are required to submit to this public database the contact information for the personnel at their company responsible for robocall-mitigation related issues. And those providers certifying to their implementation of a robocall mitigation program are required to include descriptions of the reasonable steps they are taking to avoid originating illegal robocall traffic. Filings in the Robocall Mitigation Database are due June 30, 2021. Finally, because the STIR/SHAKEN framework is only operational on IP networks, Commission rules also require providers using older forms of network technology to either upgrade their networks to IP or actively work to develop a caller ID authentication solution that is operational on non-IP networks.

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