December 9th, 2021

Seamless STIR/SHAKEN call authentication now available between the US and Canada

With Canada’s November 30 STIR/SHAKEN call authentication deadline in the rear-view mirror, Canadians who had lost trust in caller ID after years of increasingly worsening nuisance calls, are breathing a sigh of relief. Nuisance calls in Canada account for a shocking 40 percent of all phone calls.

Now, we’re excited to announce that all Communications Service Providers (CSPs) can originate and verify international calls between the U.S. and Canada using Neustar-hosted Certified Caller. Certified Caller is part of our Trusted Call Solutions suite. This new capability represents an important step towards international adoption of call authentication standards. What’s more, the capability does not require any changes in software or development/integration efforts and is free of charge.

Read the press release.

In the past, calls authenticated in Canada could not be verified in the U.S., and vice versa, because the approved Certificate Authority (STI-CA) issuing the STIR/SHAKEN certificate in one country was not recognized in the other. However, as of October 22, 2021, Policy Administrators (PAs) in the U.S. and Canada made their STIR/SHAKEN certificate lists available to the public.  As a result, we were able to update our solution to enable cross-border capabilities. 

STIR/SHAKEN in the spotlight
The official theme of the 2021 Canadian Telecom Conference was “New Era of Intelligent Connection” but the resounding message to telecom companies and the public was about security. Specifically, the steps being taken to eliminate spoof and spam calls. No surprise then that STIR/SHAKEN call authentication took center stage.  

At the summit, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) chair, Ian Scott, talked about the issue of nuisance calls and the November 30, 2021, deadline for Telecommunications Service Providers (TSPs) in Canada.

Ian said, “Most people likely perceive spoofed calls as a nuisance. The truth is, they’re more than that. They’re gateways for criminals to dupe hard-working people out of their money and their sensitive data. And they’re relentless. An average of 2,100 robocalls are sent to consumers in the United States every second. That’s why we’re acting to bring confidence back to the system through STIR/SHAKEN, and to develop a process to trace nuisance calls back to their points of origin. We have also required service providers to either provide their subscribers with the ability to filter calls or to implement a call-blocking system.”

STIR/SHAKEN will greatly simplify and streamline authentication of international calls between the U.S. and Canada, and help promote call authentication approaches that benefit all countries, enterprises, and consumers. Canada is the second country to require phone companies to use STIR/SHAKEN, part of a larger effort to protect consumers from robocalls, call spoofing and fraud. 

Call authentication gains global ground
Robocalls are an international problem. Plagued by robocalls within their borders, countries across the world are also experiencing a new issue: blocked calls. Billions of legitimate international calls coming into the U.S. are at risk of receiving ‘unfavorable treatment’ by being labeled as spam or fully blocked because the standards in place in the U.S. can’t identify the originating network without universal call authentication standards in country.

As nations consider whether STIR and/or SHAKEN are viable call authentication processes for them, the U.S. and now Canada provide a strong example of what needs to be considered when implementing call authentication - standards, technology and interoperability between countries.

Neustar Trust Lab and ATIS Testbed recently expanded its features and functionality to support emerging standards and global interoperability testing for evolving international frameworks. More than sixty-six participants from seven countries have already used the testbed to try out various options.

Learn more with our International Call Authentication (STIR/SHAKEN) FAQs. 

STIR/SHAKEN steps for TSPs 
The deadline for implementing STIR/SHAKEN in Canada has passed but it’s not too late for TSPs to get on board. Those who delay may have their subscribers’ calls labeled as spam, and possibly blocked.

The implementation of STIR/SHAKEN is a multi-step process – so providers need to start ASAP. There are four steps to jump start the process:

  1. Become a member of the CST_GA: Refer to www.cstga.ca for details
  2. Be a registered Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) or Wireless Service Provider (WSP) in good standing with the CRTC
  3. Be eligible to acquire Canadian Telephone numbers directly from the Canadian Numbering Administrator (CAN)
  4. Submit Network Access Services and Mobile Subscribers data to CST-GA

Download the TSP Checklist for implementing STIR/SHAKEN in Canada.

Neustar, a TransUnion company, is the industry leader in caller identification solutions, a co-author of the STIR standards, a key contributor to the SHAKEN framework and the exclusive operator of the ATIS Robocalling Testbed for STIR/SHAKEN implementations. Neustar collaborates with the IETF, ATIS, SIP Forum, the Network Working Group, the GSMA, 3GPP and NICC. Neustar is helping restore trust in phone calls by authenticating over 30 billion domestic and international calls each month.

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