September 16th, 2019 - Telecom, Identity and Protection
By Jim Tyrrell, Director of Product Marketing, TNS
In TNS’ most recent Robocall Investigation Report – which analyzed more than 1 billion daily call events across hundreds of carriers as well as thousands of user-generated reports – nuisance calls increased 38 percent from the third quarter of 2018 to the second quarter of 2019. The fact is that consumers are not only frustrated, but also concerned about the volume of robocalls bombarding their mobile and home phones.
Just a few weeks ago, the Toronto police had to warn the public not to pick up incoming calls from any phone number pretending to be Toronto police asking for credit card information. Spoofing of legitimate numbers – whether it is business’ customer care departments or, in this case, the police – undercuts consumer trust in voice calling. This subscriber frustration is not lost on Canadian TSPs which recognize the potential impact of nuisance robocalls on subscriber growth and retention. Despite the efforts of the National Do Not Call List (DNCL), much remains to be done. Over a recent 12 month period, more than 740,000 Canadians complained to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre about being targeted by a phone scam, according to Ian Ross, Chairman & CEO of Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), at a recent SIPNOC Forum presentation.
The fact that consumers are more proactively offering up crowdsourced feedback is an asset Canadian Telecommunications Service Providers (TSPs) can leverage to draw a larger data-driven picture of emerging robocall trends and tactics. The ultimate goal is for Canadians to have access to a world-class communication system that promotes innovation and better protects subscribers (consumers and businesses), while also delivering an enhanced user experience.
STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited) and SHAKEN (Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) is a call authentication standard and framework that provides verified information about the origin of calls by enabling service providers to sign and authenticate information in the SIP header related to the origin of calling numbers. The Commission considers that STIR/SHAKEN will increase the effectiveness of opt-in call filtering solutions and network-level blocking of nuisance calls with blatantly illegitimate caller ID. More than 40% of the alleged violations of the unsolicited telecom rules are due to ID spoofing, according to Ian Ross.
Canadian TSPs have options when it comes to deploying the call authentication framework: deploy it themselves or leverage a hosted STIR/SHAKEN solution. In making the decision on how to move forward, consider factors such as capital expenses versus operating expenses, security concerns, IT staff capabilities, scalability, inter-carrier interoperability, and control of physical assets. Then, analyze the industry solutions available to combat robocalling which include:
TSPs – as well as other stakeholders throughout the telecommunications industry ecosystem – recognize the risks associated with the rising tide of bad actor robocalls. If consumer trust in voice calling weakens, so does the relationship TSPs have with their subscribers. But at the same time, working proactively to develop innovative solutions to reduce robocall volume offers an opportunity for TSPs to enhance the user experience and maintain a strong relationship with consumers and businesses.