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FCC closes loophole which enabled Robocalls to evade blocking

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission in the United States of America announced it made changes that will end Robocalls.

FCC had earlier moved up the timeline for small companies to implement caller ID authentication technology, known as STIR and SHAKEN. Now the companies with, 100000 or fewer customers will have to implement STIR and SHAKEN from June 30th, 2022.

STIR stands for Secure Telephony Identity Revisited. SHAKEN stands for Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs.

The actual deadline to implement the technology was a year ago.

While large mobile carriers such as  AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon implemented the tech, carriers with less than 100000 customers and landlines were given an extended deadline till June 30th, 2023. In December 2021,  FCC  moved up the deadline for small carriers to implement technology to June 30, 2022.

This means that the carriers from which most Robocalls come are covered under STIR and SHAKEN. This will significantly reduce the number of Robocalls on American mobile users.

According to FCC, after implementation of STIR and SHAKE by large service and network providers led to robocallers using small providers. They used blocking tools by routing the calls on networks of the small service providers. As they were exempted from implementing technology till 2023, robocallers took advantage of it as a loophole.

FCC press release stated that “Starting today, certain small phone companies must comply
with FCC rules to implement caller ID authentication tools on their networks, just as large
voice service providers are required to since June 30, 2021.”

The press release also stated that FCC suspects the small network companies of facilitating illegal robocalls in large numbers.

Chairwoman of FCC Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement that whenever she receives a robocall, she is reminded that FCC should try always to stop these illegal calls. She also states FCC will approach congress if needed, for more powers to clamp down the robocalls.

Because of technology limitations, STIR/SHAKEN requirements haven’t applied to the older TDM-based networks with copper landlines. The FCC says its rules “require providers using older forms of network technology to either upgrade their networks to IP or actively work to develop a caller ID authentication solution that is operational on non-IP networks.”

To restrict robocalls originating from overseas, gateway providers were ordered by FCC in May 2022 to submit the necessary certificate and mitigation plans to Robocall Mitigation Database. According to that order, the gateway provider should impotently STIR and SHAKEN and authenticate all calls using the tech by June 30th 2023.




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