Restoring Telecom Trust

Rich Call Data is a more secure, trusted way to introduce a telephone call.

The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act was signed into law on December 30, 2019. It mandates call authentication using STIR/SHAKEN in IP networks and reasonable measures in non-IP networks within 18 months if service providers haven’t voluntary implemented call authentication within 12 months of enactment.

STIR/SHAKEN call authentication and verification will also make call analytics useful once again. Unsigned robocalls will land in voicemail. How will robocall perpetrators respond?

They might try to buy inexpensive phone numbers and use them to get their robocalls signed.

Would that work?

Well, their robocalls would be signed. But then crowdsourced reputation applications and other call analytics would eventually catch up with them and assign poor reputation scores to those telephone numbers. The origination ID in the call would enable traceback, a useful tool for law enforcement.

The telephone service that provided those numbers would know that this customer is a robocall perpetrator.

Eventually the telephone numbers would become useless to the robocall perpetrator, and their customer identity would become toxic. The walls would start to close in on them.

Perhaps the most exciting and promising benefit of STIR/SHAKEN is a technology that allows enterprises to introduce themselves to the called party with an authentic representation of their brand. This is Rich Call Data.

3. Rich Call Data for Presentation of Branded Caller Information

So far, we have STIR/SHAKEN to prevent caller ID spoofing, and we have call analytics, which are much more effective when we know whether the caller ID was spoofed. Are we done?

Perhaps not.

Telephone subscribers are wary of answering calls from numbers they don’t know. They’ve been burned by too many robocalls for far too long. Even a positive verification status display on their telephone handset might not persuade them to answer a call if they don’t recognize the number.

That’s where Rich Call Data can help. This technology displays the caller name, at the very least, and can also display lots of other information (see figure 3). The framework is currently a draft with the IETF.

Don’t we already have this? Isn’t this CNAM (caller name display)?

Not exactly. CNAM and eCNAM (enhanced CNAM) are third-party add-on services provided by terminating service providers. This means that:

  • Not every subscriber has CNAM. Most mobile subscribers do not.
  • Since the caller information is collected by third-party services, it’s often incomplete or out of date.
  • CNAM often does not display the information the calling party wants to present in the way they want to present it.

Rich Call Data is different:

  • It’s built on STIR/SHAKEN. Every consumer who receives signed calls can receive Rich Call Data with those calls, provided their handset will display it.
  • Rich Call Data is produced by the calling party, not a third party. This makes it much more complete, accurate and up-to-date.
  • Since the calling party controls their Rich Call Data, they have greater control over how their brand is presented to people they call.
  • Rich Call Data supports more information beyond just display name to help introduce a call more effectively.

Would everyone want to use Rich Call Data? We think so.


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