FCC Plans To Rein In “Gateway” Carriers That Bring Foreign Robocalls To Us

from are technica

The Federal Communications Commission hopes to reduce the number of illegal robocalls from overseas with an expansion of rules that require phone companies to implement Caller ID authentication technology and block illegal calls. “Eliminating illegal robocalls that originate abroad is one of the most vexing challenges the commission faces because of the difficulty in reaching foreign-based robocallers and the foreign voice service providers that originate their traffic,” the FCC said.

To make a dent in that problem, the FCC is proposing new requirements on domestic gateway providers that accept calls from outside the US. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) adopted Thursday and released on Friday proposes requiring those gateway phone companies to implement STIR (Secure Telephone Identity Revisited) and SHAKEN (Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs) protocols, which verify the accuracy of Caller ID by using digital certificates based on public-key cryptography.

“This proposal would subject foreign-originated calls, once they enter the United States, to requirements similar to those of domestic-originated calls, by placing additional obligations on gateway providers in light of the large number of illegal robocalls that originate abroad and the risk such calls present to Americans,” the NPRM said. Gateway providers would be required to “apply STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication to, and perform robocall mitigation on, all foreign-originated calls with US numbers,” the FCC said.

More here.

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2 Comments

  1. This article discusses robocalls and how the Federal Communications Commission, an independent federal regulatory agency which falls under administrative law wants to reduce the number of illegal robocalls from overseas by expanding rules. In terms of administrative agencies determining how to solve problem is the first phase.

    The next phase for administrative agencies is determining a solution known as policy making. The solution that is proposed is to implement STIR (Secure Telephone Identity Revisited) and SHAKEN (Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENS) this will help to prohibit calls that do not have STIR/SHAKEN and implement Caller ID and block illegal calls. In their policy document they also address that they know for the problem to be solved they need to address it at all angles which include enforcing the law, giving consumers new technology, using new technology and shutting down loopholes.

    The next phase of administrative agencies is investigation and enforcement, where the agency wants to track and take action when alerted of robocalls and also be proactive in ensuring that international calls do not find a loophole within the policy. The way that is proposed in the article to do this is by getting gateway providers in the United States enforcing the policy.

    The last part of the process is publishing the policy to the public to allow them to comment on it within the first 30 days, which for this policy it was published on 10/1, which means we are nearing the end of the 30 days. This then moves into revisions and then it will be published where only certain groups can challenge the policy, known as judicial challenges, 60 days after. This then has established the policy and the Federal Communications Commission will continue to uphold and investigate and correct the policy.

  2. Despite the existence of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), in the past year, I can say that I have received more robocalls than personal phone calls. The majority have been in Chinese, and the other portion has been related to extending an auto warranty for a car of which I do not own. The TCPA places limits on and prohibits unsolicited prerecorded telemarketing calls or text messages to personal cell phones. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued rules and regulations implementing the TCPA that went into effect in 1992. Some robocall Caller IDs were even displayed as local numbers, so I would answer at times. It had gotten to a point where I wouldn’t bother looking at who was calling when my phone rang because it was almost always a scam call. Thanks to a creator on TikTok, I was made aware of how to finally put a stop to the daily, unwanted scam calls.

    This issue has been a burden to many, especially the naïve who have taken the bait and have been scammed. Unfortunately, elderly individuals are the most frequent targets of fraud scams. Fraudsters target the elderly, as they may be lonely, willing to listen, and are more trusting than younger individuals. Many fraud schemes against the elderly are performed over the telephone. Without a phone carrier’s help, the only solution would be to download a third-party app such as YouMail, Nomorobo, RoboKiller, Hiya, etc. Many civilians will be happy to discover that they can skip that hassle. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) now requires phone companies to implement Caller ID authentication technology and block illegal calls. Providers will be required to know more about their overseas customers by confirming that the customer is authorized to place a call using a North American telephone number. The providers would also have to block calls if the FCC flags them as illegal. This will filter out the scammers and ease the troubles of receiving multiple robocalls from India, the Philippines, and other countries, numerous times a day. The anti-robocall proposal, adopted in a 4-0 vote, would target “gateway” voice service providers. Officials say such companies are responsible for facilitating a substantial portion of robocalls, which often originate outside the U.S.

    As stated in an article titled “AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile Challenge Rule Targeting Robocalls” published by the Wall Street Journal, written by Ryan Tracy, there has been pushback from foreign-based phone companies who say they aren’t prepared for the rule. This could lead to legitimate calls being blocked because U.S. carriers aren’t allowed to accept calls from companies that aren’t in compliance. I think it may be a good idea to delay the regulation so that telecoms can make adjustments and construct sufficient support to prevent unintended negative consequences.

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