At a time of pervasive legal and illegal robocalls, many people have taken to not answering calls unless they recognize the caller ID, and even then, they may be wary – but the danger is that they may miss important calls. A recently completed Comcast proof of concept aims to give people a higher comfort level about callers’ identities with the goal of ensuring that people pick up the phone when it’s important.
The proof of concept relied, in part, on an enhanced form of caller ID known as rich call data that uses public key cryptography and is an extension of the STIR/SHAKEN framework of protocols. According to a press release, rich call data allows legitimate callers to tell the people they call “exactly who they are, where they’re calling from and even why they are calling.”
Participants in the proof of concept see it having strong appeal with enterprises that want to make sure their calls are answered.
STIR/SHAKEN is a set of standards designed to prevent callers from tampering with caller ID to make it appear as though a call is coming from someone else – a practice known as spoofing.
Comcast Robocall-Busting Proof of Concept
Four vendors were involved in the Comcast robocall-busing proof of concept, including:
- Everbridge, a service provider specializing in critical event calls and notifications for emergency scenarios
- NetNumber, which provided the NetNumber Guaranteed Caller platform that issued a SHAKEN delegate certificate
- Numeracle, which provided Verified Identity vetting and validation that supports know your customer (KYC) capability
- Twilio, an outbound VoIP service provider that used technology from the other vendors to sign the call with a SHAKEN signature using A-level attestation, which according to the press release, is the highest level of verification.
The FCC earlier this year mandated that telecom providers implement STIR/SHAKEN technology in portions of their networks that use internet protocol (IP) communications by June 30, 2021. Some carriers already have implemented the technology, generally on a limited basis.
The FCC mandate doesn’t appear to require carriers to expand STIR/SHAKEN technology to include the capabilities that the Comcast proof of concept demonstrated. But those capabilities would seem to have strong appeal and I would expect to see Comcast and its competitors moving ahead with full-scale support for this type of solution.