Since 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been encouraging the telecommunications industry to find a way to stop robocalls—calls that use a digital autodialer to deliver a pre-recorded message—and call number spoofing, in which robocalls change the number that the call is coming from so it appears that a neighbor, friend, or official agency is calling. And the industry has responded with a technology protocol called STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited) and SHAKEN (Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs). Here’s how it works.

The key to STIR/SHAKEN is digital certificates. Every telephone service provider must obtain a digital certificate from a trusted certificate authority; the STIR technology ensures that a calling number is accurate and has not been spoofed. This process has many steps, all of which occur between the time a call is placed and the time the receiving phone begins to ring, during which the call goes through multiple layers of verification to determine whether or not the number has been spoofed. Both the originating phone service provider and the terminating service provider take steps to authenticate the call’s origins, with the terminating provider checking the call’s digital certificate against the public certificate repository. For calls that originate directly from cell phones or landlines as opposed to from the internet, the SHAKEN protocol is employed. This offers guidelines for how to deal with calls that have incorrect or missing identity information.

While the STIR/SHAKEN protocol is not new, its relevance has been renewed with the passing and approval of the TRACED Act, which was signed into law on December 31, 2019 and approved by the FCC on March 31, 2020. The law required adoption of the STIR/SHAKEN framework by carriers on a “reasonable timeline”, and on March 31 the FCC announced that large carriers must implement the system by June 30, 2021 and small, regional carriers must do so by June 30, 2022.

What does all this mean for you as a CallShaper client? The short answer: It’s a good thing. STIR/SHAKEN will help crack down on the scammers and robocallers that could be hurting your call center’s business, all while restoring the public’s faith in the industry. To learn more about the impacts of STIR/SHAKEN and the TRACED Act, contact CallShaper today.