STIR/SHAKEN and Recent Updates from the FCC

Posted on November 27, 2020

While technology continues to improve and sustain our connections to others, it is not without occasional challenges or intrusions. For many businesses, robocalls can be an annoying and potentially invasive aspect of modern telecom if the entity becomes the target of spam or fraud. Unfortunately, these spam calls have run rampant in recent years. In 2020 alone there have been 38.2 billion.

Not only are these calls intrusive, but they can also be harmful. Illegitimate robocalls often come in the form of a prerecorded call that make false claims and urges the listener to take action. Fraudulent callers may allege that the call recipient owes money to the IRS or attempt to dupe listeners in to giving up personal information.

Thanks to the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, passed in December 2019, robocalls will soon be on the decline. The TRACED Act requires voice service providers to develop call authentication technologies that will help mitigate illegitimate robocalls. Through the TRACED Act, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would require voice service providers to implement STIR/SHAKEN into their IP networks.

Now, an update from the FCC on October 1, 2020 provides incentives for CSPs and other voice providers that have already taken substantial steps toward adoption.

The October update titled, “TCPA Regulatory Update — FCC Releases Public Notice on Filing for Voluntary STIR/SHAKEN Implementation Exemptions for Early Implementers,” outlined that a voice service provider “is able to claim voluntary exemption from the June 30, 2021 STIR/SHAKEN implementation deadline for the IP and also, separately, for the non-IP portions of its networks, if it certifies by December 1, 2020, that it has completed the following four actions for the IP segment of its network:

  1. Adopted STIR/SHAKEN for calls on its IP networks;
  2. Agreed to participate with other providers in the STIR/SHAKEN authentication framework;
  3. Started to implement STIR/SHAKEN; and
  4. Will be capable of fully implementing STIR/SHAKEN no later than June 30, 2021.

And for any non-IP portions of its network, a provider that wishes to claim a voluntary exemption must certify that it has completed the two actions:

  • Taken concerted steps to implement an effective call authentication framework; and
  • Will be capable of fully implementing an effective call authentication framework no later than June 30, 2021.”

Following this update, the FCC then released a public notice outlining directions and filling information for these exemptions. If a voice service provider receives the initial exemption, they are still required to file for a second certification after June 30, 2021. The FCC will then select which providers have satisfied the first exemption by the end of December 2020.

Although there is flexibility on implementation timing, it is important to be familiar with STIR/SHAKEN and understand the widespread value it will deliver to ensure safe calling.

As CSPs and other carriers continue to put STIR/SHAKEN protocols into place, they can breathe a little easier with some of the new incentives. Ultimately, consumers can look forward to fewer robocalls and reduced instances of scams resulting from service providers’ intentional steps toward implementation.  At Flowroute, now part of Intrado, we are actively implementing STIR/SHAKEN deployment in phases.

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