FCC Chairman Accepts Working Group’s Recommendations for Call Authentication

The recommendations from the North American Numbering Council represent substantial progress toward ensuring calls are authenticated and verified, according to the FCC.

5/16/2018 2:00 PM

FCC Chairman Accepts Working Group’s Recommendations for Call Authentication

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has accepted recommendations for an industry-developed call authentication system intended to stop the use of Caller ID spoofing from the North American Numbering Council (NANC.)

The NANC was created as a Federal Advisory Committee to advise the FCC on call numbering issues and to make recommendations.

“We’ve been aggressively moving forward on new regulations and enforcement to crack down on the flood of unwanted robocalls. But a critical element of solving this problem is call authentication—essentially, creating a ‘digital fingerprint’ for each phone call that scammers can’t spoof or misuse,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a news release. “That would allow any consumer to pick up the phone with confidence.

Specifically, the NANC weighed in on an industry-developed set of standards and procedures known as “SHAKEN/STIR” designed to authenticate phone calls and mitigate Caller ID spoofing and illegal robocalling, according to a report from the group outlining its recent recommendations.

Essentially, according to NANC, the SHAKEN/STIR protocols for call authentication include two technical specifications that confirm a caller’s identity and then “allow communications service providers to attest the legitimacy of a calling party’s number.”

In July 2017, the FCC issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking comments on its role in promoting SHAKEN/STIR. As a result of the NOI, the NANC and its Call Authentication Trust Anchor Working Group were tasked with developing:

  • A reasonable timeline or set of milestones for adoption and deployment of a SHAKEN/STIR call authentication system, including metrics by which the industry’s progress can be measured;
  • Incentives or mandates that the FCC can put in place to ensure that these milestones and timelines are met;
  • Any additional steps the FCC needs to take to facilitate deployment of a call authentication system; and
  • Any steps the FCC or industry might take to make sure a call authentication system works for all participants in the North American Numbering Plan.

Now that Chairman Pai has accepted the NANC’s recommendations, it will start by selecting a governance authority to establish policies and a policy administrator for day-to-day monitoring of the policies and implementation of essential parts of the call authentication system. The governance authority will include industry representatives charged with decision making, administrative and legal support and a technical advisory council.

“The NANC report represents a substantial step forward in ensuring that calls can be authenticated and verified. In addition to being a consumer-friendly solution, call authentication can help law enforcement catch scammers and help carriers identify illegal calls,” Pai said in the news release. “I look forward to seeing the industry take the next steps and acting on the NANC recommendations.”

The NANC projects in its report that the governance authority and policy administrator will be operational within a year.

To read the NANC’s complete call authentication recommendations, visit: https://go.usa.gov/xQQbU

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