Robocalls and spam have become widespread over the years. In fact, close to 26 billion such calls were made to Americans in 2018 alone. As a result, the FCC has decided to do something about it. They are now fining those companies that make such calls.
Stopping these calls alone is a huge task; however, the FCC is collaborating with the communication sector to curb robocalls that Americans are receiving every day. A few days ago, close to 51 attorneys and 12 companies formulated a plan that would use technology to block robocalls. The technology is dubbed SHAKEN/STIR.
This is a two-pronged strategy that T-Mobile and AT&T will employ to pick out genuine calls from robocalls. This technology will also be employed in homes to help people with Comcast phones deal with such calls.
It is expected that T-Mobile, AT&T, and Comcast will be able to authenticate calls amongst their users in order to guarantee that the calls are genuine. To know what STIR/SHAKEN is all about, you need some basics on what these three players are trying to prevent – Spoofing.
In most cases, robocalls and spam are because of spoofed calls. Spoofed numbers are those whose identity is not genuine. They have fake caller identification. Therefore, they often show as numbers that the caller does not own.
Scammers often use numbers known to the person receiving the call, like that of a loved one, a government representative, a local company or a number that will give you the impression that the caller is genuine.
Spoofing is a tactic used by scammers to encourage you to take their calls because you are confident that the caller is genuine. However, picking one call means you will definitely receive many more such calls in the future.
What is SHAKEN/STIR in full?
A lot of thought went into conjuring the acronym SHAKEN/STIR. The acronym SHAKEN in full is signature-based handling of asserted information with help of toKENS. On the other hand, STIR in full is shorthand for secure telephone identity revisited.
How does this system work?
The short version is that when a person places a call through a particular provider, the company will verify the call and place a digital signature to verify that it came from a genuine user. The second service provider will receive the same call, verify its identity and validate it once more. Then, the call will appear as verified to the person on the receiving end.
However, the process is much more complex. If you are interested in the technicalities, TransNexus will help you grasp the finer details.
How to tell if a call has been verified
A message will show on your screen indicating that the call you are receiving has been verified. A T-Mobile user will see “Caller Verified” right below the caller ID.
Will Americans Stop Receiving Robocalls?
Unfortunately, it might take some time before people stop receiving these calls. The new technology does not prevent you from receiving robocalls, but it will help people identify who is calling. That way, you can tell scammer from genuine callers. In addition, service providers will use verification data to build even better blocking services and applications, although this might take some time.
When will other players come on board?
If the FCC manages to convince everyone to play ball, all key players will be part of this initiative by the end of this year. In fact, Verizon is currently using this technology to filter spam calls with its network. Sprint has not shown any official initiative yet, but based on correspondence between them and FCC late last year; this carrier will begin testing this new technology before the end of this year.
This is a step in the right direction and a blow for scammers. With expected implementation deadline almost ending, the FCC is hoping that there will be more agreement between stakeholders and even more phones will be included in compatibility lists. This will make it easier for people to decide whether to take random or strange calls.