First official cross-border call using STIR / SHAKEN

IAN Scott, Chairperson and CEO of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and Ajit Pai, Chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Monday in a joint statement said: “Spoofed, scam robocalls are an international problem.  Both Americans and Canadians are being bombarded by these calls, which are too often used to defraud consumers and target some of our most vulnerable communities.  That’s why the FCC and CRTC are committed to combating robocalls by aggressively attacking the use of caller ID spoofing.”

On Monday, they conducted the first official cross-border call using STIR [Secure Telephony Identity Revisited] / SHAKEN [Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs].  This new framework enables service providers to authenticate and verify the caller ID information of voice calls made using Internet Protocol.

It’s essentially a digital fingerprint for telephone calls.  When a call between participating providers is transmitted without that digital fingerprint, the receiving phone company will know that the caller ID information is spoofed and can act to protect its customer from scams.

Scott and Pai said: “This call between the chairs of the FCC and CRTC demonstrates our joint commitment to the fight against spoofed calls and our focus on protecting Canadian and American consumers.  Spoofing is a challenge that requires broad cooperation and engagement, both domestically and internationally, from many partners including the telecommunications industry.  The timely implementation of STIR / SHAKEN will enhance the security of American and Canadian consumers and give them the peace of mind they demand and deserve when the phone rings.”

They added: “We look forward to continuing to collaborate as we work to combat the scourge of unwanted robocalls.”

  • Caller ID spoofing occurs when callers hide or misrepresent their identity by displaying fictitious or altered phone numbers when making calls.
  • Canadians should never provide personal information (such as banking information or Social Insurance Numbers) over the phone without first verifying whether the request is legitimate.
  • There may be legitimate reasons to modify caller ID information. For instance, police services or domestic abuse shelters can use spoofing to hide the origin of the call.