Ajit Pai: FCC ‘Will Consider Regulatory Intervention’ Against Phone Companies over Robocalls

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai
Eric Thayer/Getty

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced this week that the agency would “consider regulatory intervention” unless phone companies “implement strong caller ID authentication” to battle robocalls.

“American consumers are sick and tired of unwanted robocalls, this consumer among them. Caller ID authentication will be a significant step towards ending the scourge of spoofed robocalls,” Pai proclaimed in a statement. “It’s time for carriers to implement robust caller ID authentication. Uniform adoption will help improve authentication throughout the network and make sure no consumer gets left behind. I applaud those companies that have committed to deploy the SHAKEN/STIR framework in 2019.”

USA Today described the SHAKEN/STIR framework as, “STIR, or Secure Telephone Identity Revisited, is a call-certifying protocol. SHAKEN, or Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs, verifies the caller’s right to use their phone numbers.”

When you make a call, your phone carrier will use your identifying number to create a digital signature, or token, that will accompany the call as it is being completed.

“This goal should be achievable for every major wireless provider, interconnected VoIP operator, and telephone company—and I expect those lagging behind to make every effort to catch up,” he continued. “If it appears major carriers won’t meet the deadline to get this done this year, the FCC will have to consider regulatory intervention.”

In November, Pai called on phone companies to implement caller ID authentication, prompting most to respond to the FCC with plans.

Google, Verizon, AT&T, Bandwidth, Comcast, Sprint, T-Mobile, Vonage, Cox, US Cellular, TDS, Frontier, Charter, and CenturyLink all responded to the FCC, however, others reportedly did not.

“While some carriers committed to rollout these services in the coming months, others hedged, citing concerns that other carriers appear to have already addressed,” explained the FCC in a press release. “Chairman Pai believes that wireless providers, interconnected VoIP providers, and telephone companies should make real caller ID authentication (the SHAKEN/STIR framework) a priority and believes that major carriers can meet his 2019 goal.”

Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) commented simply, “#GoodNews.”

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.

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