FCC Mandates Phone Companies Implement Caller ID Authentication

The Federal Communications Commission has adopted new rules requiring the implementation of caller ID authentication using technical standards known as “STIR/SHAKEN.”

These rules will further the FCC’s efforts to protect consumers against caller ID “spoofing,” which is often used during robocall scam campaigns to trick consumers into answering their phones.

STIR/SHAKEN enables phone companies to verify that the caller ID information transmitted with a call matches the caller’s phone number. Widespread deployment of STIR/SHAKEN, the FCC says, will reduce the effectiveness of illegal spoofing, allow law enforcement to identify bad actors more easily, and help phone companies identify calls with illegally spoofed caller ID information before those calls reach their subscribers.

The order requires all originating and terminating voice service providers to implement STIR/SHAKEN in the IP portions of their networks by June 30, 2021, a deadline that is consistent with Congress’s direction in the recently-enacted TRACED Act.  The FCC laid the groundwork for these new rules when it formally proposed and sought public comment on mandating STIR/SHAKEN implementation in June 2019.

The FCC has also adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to take public comment on expanding the STIR/SHAKEN implementation mandate to cover intermediate voice service providers; extending the implementation deadline by one year for small voice service providers pursuant to the TRACED Act; adopting requirements to promote caller ID authentication on voice networks that do not rely on IP technology; and implementing other aspects of the TRACED Act.

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The FCC estimates that the benefits of eliminating the wasted time and nuisance caused by illegal scam robocalls will exceed $3 billion annually, and STIR/SHAKEN is an important part of realizing those cost savings.  Additionally, when paired with call analytics, STIR/SHAKEN will help protect American consumers from fraudulent robocall schemes that cost Americans approximately $10 billion annually.  Improved caller ID authentication will also benefit public safety by reducing spoofed robocalls that disrupt healthcare and emergency communications systems.  Further, the FCC claims implementation of STIR/SHAKEN will restore consumer trust in caller ID information and encourage consumers to answer the phone, to the benefit of consumers, businesses, healthcare providers, and non-profit organizations.