Federal Communications Commission Approves Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on the SHAKEN Call Authentication Framework Developed by the SIP Forum/ATIS NNI Task Force

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New FCC NOI seeks comment on implementing the SHAKEN Call Authentication Framework, as well as the Commission’s role in the process, to help further secure the Nation’s telephone networks from the scourge of Robocalls and Caller ID Spoofing

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With this NOI, the FCC is taking a decisive step towards the goals of better protecting American consumers from the scourge of unwanted and fraudulent Robocalls.

The SIP Forum has announced that the United States Federal Communications Commission on July 13, 2017 voted 3-0 to approve an official Notice of Inquiry - WC Docket No. 17-97 seeking industry comment on the SIP Forum/ATIS SHAKEN Call Authentication Framework, which sets forth a comprehensive methodology for validating phone calls and mitigating Caller ID Spoofing and fraudulent Robocalling.

According to the FCC, Caller ID spoofing and the Robocalling it enables generate the largest number of consumer complaints to the FCC and to the Federal Trade Commission. U.S. consumers received an estimated 2.4 billion Robocalls per month in 2016. Furthermore, in a recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Call Blocking, the FCC noted that illegal Robocalling activity continues to grow despite industry efforts and the protections provided by the Telephone Consumer Protection and Truth in Caller ID Act (TCPA).

Although call blocking is one tool for combating illegal Robocalls, an additional complementary task is to positively identify the bad actors making these calls. A procedure for authenticating calls between service providers aims to make it possible for subscribers and carriers to know that callers are who they say they are, reducing the risk of fraud and ensuring that callers can be held accountable for their calls.

According to Richard Shockey, SIP Forum Chairman and Principal of Shockey Consulting, “With this Notice of Inquiry (NOI), the FCC is taking a decisive step towards the goals of better protecting American consumers from the scourge of unwanted and fraudulent Robocalls. We are grateful that the FCC is taking corrective action in proposing industry adoption of the SHAKEN framework to help secure our telephone networks by facilitating use of methods to authenticate telephone calls and deter illegal Robocallers.”

“Caller ID Spoofing allows bad actors to hide their real, originating phone numbers, and to impersonate a trusted party such as a bank or the IRS, making it extremely difficult for consumers to know if a caller is legitimate or not. It also hampers the effort of investigators and enforcers to effectively combat the fraud that is often perpetrated. The support of the SHAKEN Framework by the FCC, and its eventual adoption, is in the best interests of the American people,” adds Marc Robins, SIP Forum President and Managing Director.

About the SIP Forum/ATIS NNI Task Force
The Network to Network Interface (NNI) Joint Task Force is a cooperative effort between the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) and the SIP Forum that has been meeting regularly for the past three years to define specifications to support SIP-based Service Provider to Service Provider IP Interconnection. The Task Force is comprised of telecommunications technical experts representing a range of telephony service providers and suppliers, both large and small, which serve both consumers and businesses.

To address unwanted and illegal Robocalls, ATIS and the SIP Forum have been working to develop standards to verify and authenticate caller identification for calls carried over an Internet Protocol (IP) network using the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). The ATIS and SIP Forum work consists of a three-phase approach to solving the issue of caller identification, using a digital certificate scheme to “verify and authenticate caller identification for calls carried over an Internet Protocol (IP) network.”

Phase 1 (completed) consists of the development of the SHAKEN framework, based on the protocols developed by the IETF’s STIR working group (the STIR framework), and describes the operations necessary for making an authenticated telephone call using the SHAKEN framework.

Phase 2 (completed) consists of the development of a “Governance Model and Certificate Management for the Trust Anchor,” describing the way in which entities will be granted the trust necessary to vouch for call authenticity, and the organizational structures needed to manage this process. Specifically, this work introduces a governance model and defines X.509 certificate management procedures. Certificate management provides mechanisms for validation of a certificate and verification of the associated digital signature, allowing for the identification of illegitimate use of national telecommunications infrastructure.

Phase 3 consists of the development of a “Call Validation Display Framework” that will recommend how to display SHAKEN/STIR information to consumers. Phase 3 is still being developed by ATIS and the SIP Forum and is not a part of the NOI.

For more information about the NNI Task Force and Charter, and to obtain copies of the completed, ratified specifications, please visit the NNI Task Force Introduction webpage.

Participation in the ATIS/SIP Forum Joint Task Force is open to ATIS and/or SIP Forum members. With currently more than 150 participants, the Task Force is currently meeting on a regular basis.

The SIP Forum leadership is available to provide a technical briefing into the SHAKEN Framework. To request a briefing, please contact Marc Robins at marc.robins(at)sipforum(dot)org.

About the SIP Forum
The SIP Forum is an IP communications industry association that engages in numerous activities that promote and advance SIP-based technology, such as the development of industry recommendations, the SIPit interoperability testing events, special workshops, educational seminars, and general promotion of SIP in the industry. The SIP Forum is also the producer of the annual SIPNOC conferences (for SIP Network Operators Conference), focused on the technical requirements of the service provider community. One of the Forum's notable technical activities is the development of the SIPconnect Technical Recommendation – a standards-based SIP trunking recommendation that provides detailed guidelines for direct IP peering and interoperability between IP PBXs and SIP-based service provider networks, and the SIPconnect Certification Testing Program, a unique certification testing program that includes a new certification test suite and test platform, as well as an associated “SIPconnect Certified” logo program that provides an official “seal of certification” for companies products and services that have successfully passed the certification test and officially achieved conformance with the SIPconnect specification. For more information about SIP Forum initiatives, please visit: http://www.sipforum.org.

About ATIS
As a leading technology and solutions development organization, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) brings together the top global ICT companies to advance the industry's most pressing business priorities. ATIS' 150 companies are currently working to address 5G, the all-IP transition, network functions virtualization, big data analytics, cloud services, device solutions, emergency services, M2M, cyber security, network evolution, quality of service, billing support, operations, and much more. These priorities follow a fast-track development lifecycle - from design and innovation through standards, specifications, requirements, business use cases, software toolkits, open source solutions, and interoperability testing.

ATIS is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ATIS is the North American Organizational Partner for the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), a founding Partner of the oneM2M global initiative, a member and major U.S. contributor to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), as well as a member of the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL). For more information, visit http://www.atis.org.

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