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Ajit Pai threatens “action” if anti-spoofing protocols not adopted

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) threatened action yesterday against mobile providers who fail to implement methods used to combat robocalls in the upcoming year.

In a press release Monday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai ordered more than a dozen companies, including AT&T, Comcast and T-Mobile, to adopt anti-spoofing protocols by next year.

“Combatting illegal robocalls is our top consumer priority at the FCC,” Pai said. “That’s why we need call authentication to become a reality—it’s the best way to ensure that consumers can answer their phones with confidence.”

The authentication framework, which relies on the Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) and the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) standards, would ensure the legitimacy of calls before they reach consumers.

“The framework digitally validates the handoff of phone calls passing through the complex web of networks, allowing the phone company of the consumer receiving the call to verify that a call is from the person supposedly making it,” the press release states.

Pai argued that cell phone users should expect to see a significant decrease in robocalls by next year.

The FCC chairman also vowed to confront companies that fail to make progress on integrating the authentication system.

“If it does not appear that this system is on track to get up and running next year, then we will take action to make sure that it does,” Pai added.

According to YouMail, a company that develops software to stop unwanted calls, Americans received more than 30.5 billion robocalls last year alone.

While mobile providers work to incorporate the authentication system, the FCC recommends numerous cell phone apps for consumers looking to block robocalls.