The North American Numbering Council (NANC), a federal advisory committee established by the FCC, delivered a call authentication report to the FCC on May 3. The report was developed by the Call Authentication Trust Anchor Working Group (CATA WG) and approved by NANC on April 27. It “details a framework for call authentication that can more quickly be established than various alternatives, while obtaining the broadest participation of industry.” The report recommends that over the next year, industry should set up a governance authority and identify a policy administrator to oversee the industry-developed “SHAKEN/STIR” framework and protocols for authenticating calls. According to the report, an industry-developed governance authority can begin work immediately without an FCC rulemaking, and will have the flexibility to respond to evolving threats.
“SHAKEN/STIR” is an acronym for Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (Shaken) and Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (Stir). The SHAKEN procedures utilize STIR protocols to allow communications service providers to cryptographically “sign” with a trusted Secure Telephone Identity certificate in a way that allows verification of the caller’s information. As the NANC report explains, “SHAKEN/STIR provides the foundation for the development of a real-time authentication of a telephone number which can prevent illegal spoofing and robocalling by identifying any number that cannot be sufficiently attested.”
The report identifies actions the Commission may wish to take to ensure that milestones and timelines are met, but does not propose a specific deadline for provider adoption of the framework. This report responds to the FCC’s July 14, 2017 Notice of Inquiry seeking comment on the FCC’s role in promoting the SHAKEN/STIR framework, and directing CATA WG to investigate various issues associated with the SHAKEN/STIR system. NANC will consider separate draft reports on nationwide number portability and toll-free number assignment modernization at a May 29 meeting, and submit final versions to the FCC by June 7.