States and 12 phone carriers agree to implement anti-robocall technology

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 22
As Congress considers legislation designed to put an end to robocalling, state attorneys general and 12 telephone companies intend to take action and on Thursday announced an agreement to implement spam call identification and blocking technology.

Robocall


While not a binding decree, the deal puts phone carriers under the gun to implement STIR/SHAKEN call authentication technology and offer free call blocking tools to customers, reports The Washington Post.

A total of 12 companies, including major carriers AT&T, Comcast, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, promised to roll out robocall protections from 51 state attorneys general representing every state and the District of Columbia. Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Consolidated, Frontier, U.S. Cellular and Windstream also pledged support.

Phone companies are not required to follow through on the agreement. And while there is no deadline to integrate the technologies, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said the "expectation is they will all implement them as soon as practical."

"Thanks to these prevention principles, our phones will ring less often," Stein said in a press conference in Washington, D.C., according to CNET. "But unfortunately there will always be bad actors no matter how well we try to prevent these calls. Some will get through and that's why enforcement is such a critical part of what we're doing today."

Along with implementation of STIR/SHAKEN and an offer of free call blocking and identification tools to customers, the agreed upon principles include analysis and monitoring of network traffic, investigation of suspicious calls, identity confirmation of commercial customers, integration and followthrough on traceback operations, and communication with state attorneys general.

"We're in the midst of an ongoing battle with those responsible for sending annoying and often deceptive spam calls to our customers, and we're determined to fight this battle," said Kathy Grillo, a government affairs executive at Verizon.

Caller ID spoofing has become an increasingly prevalent annoyance in both the U.S. and abroad. In many cases, malicious actors purposely manipulate their originating phone number to make it appear as though they are calling from a trusted entity in a bid to fleece consumers of money or procure sensitive information.

Other government bodies and individual carriers are working to enact robocall safeguards similar to those announced today. In July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to end to spam calls by leveling business requirements on carriers and bolstering Federal Communications Commission authority over offenders. A month earlier, the Senate adopted its own bill called the TRACED Act.

Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission expanded the scope of the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 to cover international calls and texts, while AT&T and T-Mobile joined forces on a STIR/SHAKEN-based cross-network call authentication program.

Apple is also developing anti-robocall technology for use by iPhone owners. Baked into iOS 13 is a feature that relies on Siri smarts to identify and silence calls from unknown numbers, sending them directly to voicemail for later perusal.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    roakeroake Posts: 663member
    I wonder if this will work in practice, or if there will be simple workarounds for those scum that run the robocallers.

    It does seem like there should be ways to verify a phone number and end number spoofing.
    edited August 22
  • Reply 2 of 14
    roakeroake Posts: 663member
    Maybe Apple should set up deals behind the scenes to identify “unknown callers” and handle the calls intelligently.  It wouldn’t mean they needed to report a legitimately-hidden number to a call recipient.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,285member
    When?????? We are PAST the point of critical disruption in the value of telephone systems due to garbage calls!!
    qwwera
  • Reply 4 of 14
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,674member
    I don’t know what stir/shaken entails, but unless it involves detection/prevention of number spoofing it will be of limited value. 
  • Reply 5 of 14
    MplsP said:
    I don’t know what stir/shaken entails, but unless it involves detection/prevention of number spoofing it will be of limited value. 
    Since most of these calls come from overseas, such techniques would be impossible  because this is only an agreement among American carriers. 
  • Reply 6 of 14
    iOS 13  actually has shaken/stir. You can see screen shots on Reddit !! Siri and sending unknown callers to voice mail is just a additional feature that gets more of a mention. 
    edited August 22
  • Reply 7 of 14
    qwweraqwwera Posts: 280member
    Why did they need the government to force them to do the right thing? I’ve given up on answering the phone because of the amount of calls I get from “the social security administration”. How many numbers do robocallers they go through? I swear I’ve blocked 100’s
    edited August 22 mwhite
  • Reply 8 of 14
    qwweraqwwera Posts: 280member
    dysamoria said:
    When?????? We are PAST the point of critical disruption in the value of telephone systems due to garbage calls!!
    Agreed. I’ve given up on answering the phone unless I know exactly who it is.
  • Reply 9 of 14
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,372member
    qwwera said:
    dysamoria said:
    When?????? We are PAST the point of critical disruption in the value of telephone systems due to garbage calls!!
    Agreed. I’ve given up on answering the phone unless I know exactly who it is.
    You and me both!  I wish they also do something about the TV ads that are ten times the volume of everything else.
  • Reply 10 of 14
    I've been using ATT's call blocking app and I have literally over 1k of blocked calls, including 3-400 numbers starting with my area code and local exchange (neighbor spoofing). I am so glad they are finally actually maybe could be doing something - maybe. This could have been done years ago as they switched to digital communications but never did. I finally gave up and added a second number to my account and will phase out my 30 year old Nextel number because of the dozens of spam and spoof calls I get. I hate to do it because people I know/knew years ago could still call me and get me on that same number.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    How about this. The first carrier to implement an affective call blocking get's my business. 
  • Reply 12 of 14
    Verizon has chosen to monetize call filtering for $2.99 a month per line Instead of making this a differentiated service quality feature for all their customers. This is a good indicator that Verizon is not interested in the overall quality of their service and is happy making customers pay more for better service quality.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    Verizon has chosen to monetize call filtering for $2.99 a month per line Instead of making this a differentiated service quality feature for all their customers. This is a good indicator that Verizon is not interested in the overall quality of their service and is happy making customers pay more for better service quality.
    Verizon has initiated call blocking and identification service on the cellular side. With a free and paid version. I understand on the home phone front they are offering spam id and more numbers to be added to be blocked. But Verizon is one of the most greediest companies on the planet. So they will do what the government mandates but make a few billion dollars in the process.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,470member
    qwwera said:
    Why did they need the government to force them to do the right thing? 
    Why does anybody ultimately need anybody to tell them to 'do the right thing'.

    And the government hasn't forced them to do anything. There is nothing substantive coming from this historic dinner theater. There are a bunch of people patting themselves on the back at how well they've played their roles.

    Call blocking? Who cares. Most spammers are adroitly use multiple number on a regular basis. That's whack-a-mole at best. There exists tech that allow telecos to virtually eliminate spoofing. Doing that would a) make our life so much easier, at least being able to trust how is on the other end, and b) make it easier to go after anybody breaking anti-spamming law.

    Oh what–– there is no anti-spamming law? No, at least not from this agreement. This is more about mere practices, not tech, and certainly a lack of teeth. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/08/us-phone-carriers-make-empty-unenforceable-promises-to-fight-robocalls/
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