FCC to Vote on Mandatory Robocall Blocking

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The FCC will vote this month to require carriers to implement technology to block robocalls. Specifically, the new rules mandate implementation of caller ID authentication using so-called “STIR/SHAKEN” technology standards. 

STIR/SHAKEN enables carriers to verify the accuracy of caller ID information that is transmitted with a call. Industry-wide implementation would 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, according to the agency. The FCC will vote on the new rules on March 31. 

‘Widespread implementation will give American consumers a lot more peace of mind when they pick up the phone,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “Last year, I demanded that major phone companies voluntarily deploy STIR/SHAKEN, and a number of them did.” But he said it’s clear agency action is needed to spur across-the-board deployment. He acknowledged there’s no one “silver bullet” when it comes to eliminating robocalls, but said, “this is a critical shot at the target.”

In June 2019, the Commission proposed and sought public comment on whether to mandate implementation of STIR/SHAKEN if major carriers did not voluntarily do so by the end of the year. In December 2019, Congress passed and the President signed into law the TRACED Act, which directs the Commission to require voice service providers to implement STIR/SHAKEN in their networks within 18 months of the law’s enactment.

If adopted, the proposal would require originating and terminating voice service providers to implement STIR/SHAKEN in the Internet Protocol (IP) portions of their networks by June 30, 2021. An accompanying Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would propose giving one-year extensions for small and rural providers. 

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