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What Is Required for Safe Voice Communications in 2022
In the fight against unwanted robocalls, the nemesis looms large. Despite FCC-mandated protocols meant to circumvent call spoofing, the number of robocalls is projected to slightly decrease by only about 3.8 percent from 2021 to 2022. In the meantime, total robocalls per month continue to teeter around 4 billion per month or 12 robocalls per person per month in the United States. Given this seeming lack of significant movement on the robocall front despite the FCC’s best efforts, how do we ensure safe voice communications into 2022 and beyond?
In this article, we cover:
- The four pillars of safe voice communications.
- The effect of established procedures and service provider policies
- How content-based analytics cover the last mile of monitoring and enforcement.
The four pillars of safe voice communications in 2022 are procedure, policy, monitoring, and enforcement. It’s essential for all four to be in place in order to identify telephone number ownership, usage behaviors, trust level, and origination for the purpose of tracking and preventing unwanted robocalls.
An unwanted robocall procedure establishes a means of conducting communications, whether by automated processes, artificial intelligence, and/or human decision-making.
The FCC’s technology standard — Secure Telephony Identity Revisited (STIR) and Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENS (SHAKEN) — is one such automated procedure. Put simply, STIR/SHAKEN uses digital certificates and encryption to secure phone calls. The purpose is to allow call recipients to verify callers are who they claim to be and eliminate number spoofing. STIR/SHAKEN, however, has its issues blocking calls originating from overseas.
Another such procedure is Know Your Customer (KYC). A KYC will positively identify the originating entity along with important details such as how to reach the person or organization and what type of business is calling.
Whereas an individual may employ an app or service to block robocalls, he or she is only identifying malicious robocalls and preventing them from ringing his or her line (or providing a warning that the call should be avoided). However, it’s important to note that this in and of itself doesn’t prevent the robocall problem at the source, it only regulates what the individual is exposed to. True robocall prevention digs down into origination with the end goal of preventing future disturbance.
Service Provider Policies
Communications service providers create policies to regulate a variety of decisions relative to access, usage, billing, and other OSS/BSS (operations support system and business support system) functions. To ensure safe communications, policy determines who has the right-to-use service provider assets, how assets are used, and the potential impact of usage on the network and customer service relative to business objectives, rules, and regulations.
One specific policy lever providers have at their disposal is setting the attestation level associated with authenticated calls. Attestatoin level is important because transit and terminating networks typically adhere to a policy of acceptance rather than questioning if a particular call involves a network and telephone number that is inappropriately attested.
Transit network providers also set policy regarding whether to sign calls that are presented as unsigned. Terminating networks adopt their own policies regarding whether they label B-attested calls and redirect C-attested calls. Another terminating network policy involves the handling of verification status (verstat) parameter to the handset.
Depending on manufacturer and operating system, passage of the verstat parameter may cause the handset to display a green checkmark or a “Verified Call” notification, which implies to most consumers that it is safe to answer. However, it may very well not be safe to answer. This is another reason why robocall monitoring is still critical.
Monitoring Unwanted Robocalls
Monitoring is the observation, documentation, and reporting of activities that identify compliance versus non-compliance with service agreements, applicable laws, and regulations. This is where content-based analytics come into play.
Content-based analytics inspect phone call content to determine intent. For example, using content-based analytics, we can determine the legitimacy of a voicemail from a party claiming to be the Social Security Administration. Such analytics do not rely solely on signaling data or event-based analytics. Therefore, the most promising way to eliminate fraudulent robocalls is through a combination of monitoring and enforcement.
Enforcement: Putting Teeth To The Rules
In order to eliminate fraudulent robocalls, we need to be able to clearly identify illegal violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and take action: whether that be through service discontinuance, access/asset removal, financial penalties, and/or litigation.
Monitoring and enforcement work hand-in-hand. One provides the information necessary for the other to levy the appropriate punishment to achieve deterrence. Content-based analytics provides the greatest efficacy as clearly illegal or even definitively fraudulent calls can be identified with virtually zero false positives.
False positives are not necessarily unwanted but may be scored as spam or scam. False negatives, on the other hand, typically result in calls that do not get robocall treatment (labeling, redirection, or blocking).
Over the last mile of safe voice communications in 2022, content-based analytics almost unfailingly identifies robocalls accurately as well as provides evidential proof of wrongdoing to justify removal of bad actor access to service provider assets.
YouMail Protective Services works with communication service providers and vendor-partners to eliminate unlawful voice and text campaigns. We protect our communications service provider (CSP) customers and their vendor infrastructure with robocall mitigation services that detect and interdict unwanted traffic that would otherwise originate, traverse, or terminate networks. See how you can ensure safer voice communications by scheduling a demo today.