AT&T and Comcast said today that they have exchanged calls verified with SHAKEN/STIR unwanted and illegal robocall-fighting technology. The SHAKEN/STIR protocol is designed to verify that the phone number displayed via caller ID is the same number from which the call was placed. The service providers said they expect to begin offering authentication on calls between networks to customers later this year.

In a press release, AT&T and Comcast cautioned that “[w]hile authentication won’t solve the problem of unwanted robocalls by itself, it is a key step toward giving customers greater confidence and control over the calls they receive” because calls that are illegally spoofed will not be marked as verified.

Spoofing is widely used by robocallers to make it appear that a call from a telemarketer or other source is actually coming from a local number or other number that a call recipient is likely to trust. The FCC has reached some substantial settlements with robocallers accused of using spoofing, but the practice has continued.

The STIR protocol — for “Secure Telephony Identity Revisited” – was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)  and SHAKEN – for “Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs – was developed by the SIP Forum and the Alliance for Telecom Industry Solutions (ATIS) to enable operators to implement the STIR standard.

According to today’s press release, AT&T and Comcast played key roles in developing and refining SHAKEN/STIR, which the companies described as “an important tool in the broader effort to combat fraudulent robocalls. Both companies expect to reach similar STIR/SHAKEN interoperability with other service providers.

AT&T and Comcast  issued separate versions of the press release, with each company highlighting existing options that customers can use to combat unwanted or illegal robocalls. For example, AT&T offers customers the ability to block certain phone numbers on their mobile and landline phones, while Comcast offers call blocking through a deal with call blocking technology provider Nomorobo.

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