STIR/SHAKEN technology to reduce scam calls won’t be enough, say Big Three

Panelists at a recent government hearing say that there are several factors to consider about STIR/SHAKEN technology ahead of the September implementation deadline.

The panels, which included members from the CRTC, the RCMP and the Big Three (Rogers, Bell and Telus), addressed the Committee on Industry, Science and Technology during its hearing on fraud and nuisance calls in Canada.

STIR/SHAKEN technology is meant to reduce nuisance calls by verifying caller ID information for Internet Protocol-based voice calls. The panelists noted that the technology alone won’t prevent these types of calls.

They noted that although the technology will help reduce nuisance calls, further steps will need to be taken since it does not actively block scam calls.

The carriers said that the CRTC must ensure that fraudsters are held accountable and that the government should look into the points of entry from where the calls are originating from, as criminals are getting smarter in their fraud tactics.

During the hearing, the CRTC and RCMP also said that more needs to be done to educate Canadians about nuisance and fraud calls. For instance, the RCMP said that law enforcement can improve how they deal with complaints and that the industry collectively needs to do a better job at educating consumers.

CRTC chair Ian Scott said that Canadians can also take steps to protect themselves better. Scott noted that consumers should assess a call and recognize when something does not seem right in terms of callers asking for personal information or payment.

Further, Bell, Rogers and Telus also outlined that although they will adhere with the September 30th deadline, STIR/SHAKEN won’t benefit consumers right away. This is because most devices on the market cannot currently support the technology.

If the carriers do implement the technology in September, most Canadians would not be able to benefit from it until manufacturers like Apple and Samsung ensure that their devices can support such technology.

Further, the carriers outlined that it’s currently unclear how the technology would work with landline phones. Since STIR/SHAKEN is essentially meant to display to the caller that the number has been verified, it’s unclear how this model would be applied to landlines.

The CRTC said that it is still working out how notifications will look like under the STIR/SHAKEN technology. It also acknowledged that there may be some technical difficulties in implementing the technology, but that the deadline for September still stands.

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