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September 25th, 2020

FCC to Discuss Expansion of STIR/SHAKEN at Next Week’s Open Meeting

While the FCC is encouraged with the impact of the TRACED Act at cracking down on bad actors and combatting spoofed robocalls, which they say have been cut by 60 percent this year, they know there’s more work to be done. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has already received over 200,000 complaints from consumers this year, says Americans have lost more than $145 million to fraud related to the coronavirus alone. The TRACED Act mandates that U.S. carriers must implement STIR/SHAKEN call authentication measures, or a robocall mitigation strategy, by June 31, 2021. 

On September 30, the FCC will hold an open meeting to get feedback on a new Report and Order to continue their work to implement the TRACED Act and promote the deployment of caller ID authentication technology to combat spoofed robocalls. If implemented, the changes will have sweeping impacts on carriers of all sizes, as well as enterprises eager to ensure their legitimate calls get through, and are not accidentally marked as spam or blocked. 

While we’ll have to wait for the outcome of the open meeting, it’s clear from the items proposed that the FCC is working to ensure that STIR/SHAKEN is successfully implemented across the entire calling ecosystem. The true benefits of STIR/SHAKEN can only be realized when all carriers comply. Bad actors will adapt to originate scams from networks that haven’t implemented the STIR/SHAKEN framework, making the entire system less secure. 

Calls originating from these non-compliant networks may not be trusted by the rest of the ecosystem and could be blocked or go unanswered. Regardless of the deadline, accelerating STIR/SHAKEN deployment helps carriers today by protecting their subscribers from robocalls, and ensuring their business customers can originate authenticated calls.

The FCC’s recommendation to use robocall mitigation technology, both in tandem with STIR/SHAKEN, and as a backup, is a key measure in tackling this multi-faceted fraud and call spoofing issue

Here’s some highlights of what’s being proposed.

All Voice Service Providers (VSPs) must:

  • File a certification in a FCC Commission database demonstrating how they’re working to reduce the origination of illegal robocalls
  • Either upgrade their non-IP networks to IP and implement STIR/SHAKEN or work to develop a non-IP Caller ID authentication solution
  • Get an exemption, if they choose to, from the June 2021 deadline if they can demonstrate they are making early progress on implementing Caller ID authentication
  • Not charge consumers or small businesses for caller ID authentication technology

Intermediate voice providers must:

  • Implement STIR/SHAKEN in the IP portion of their networks by June 30, 2021.

Voice providers may be granted an extension if they fall into at least one of the following categories: 

  1. Are considered to be small VSPs, which means they must have less than 100,000 subscriber lines
  2. Services scheduled for discontinuance
  3. Incapable of obtaining a certificate to implement STIR/SHAKEN
  4. Non-IP networks

Any VSP subject to an extension must implement a robocall mitigation program on the portions of their networks that are not STIR/SHAKEN enabled, including non-IP networks.

The FCC continues to promote the mitigation of illegal robocalls as a top priority. At Neustar we're focused on the same mission, and look forward to the output of the FCC meeting next week. As an approved Certification Authority and co-author of the STIR certificate management standards, Neustar plays an integral role in the governance structure for the Calling Number Verification Service to mitigate illegal robocalling and call spoofing. 

Download the infographic to learn How STIR/SHAKEN Works and visit our Trusted Call Resource Center.

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