Removing Barriers Blog

CUNA Submits Comments to the FCC's Proposed Rule on Robocalls
Posted July 25, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA submitted a letter to the FCC today regarding their proposed rule on robocalls. This rule would  establish a single, comprehensive database that would contain the most recent permanent disconnection date for toll free numbers and for each number allocated to or ported to each provider that receives North American Numbering Plan U.S. geographic numbers. It would also set a minimum aging period of 45 days before a permanently disconnected number may be reassigned to a new subscriber with a limited safe harbor from liability for any caller that relies upon inaccurate information provided by the database.

While CUNA supports efforts to curb fraudulent and illegal calls, the letter notes that the FCC's proposals for establishing safe harbor are premature. 

"The Further Notice proposes a safe harbor for voice service providers that choose to block calls that “fail Caller ID authentication.” A call would fail authentication where “a malicious actor ha[d] tried to inappropriately spoof another number and attempted to circumvent the protection provided by SHAKEN/STIR.” The Commission assumes that the calls blocked in these circumstances would be 'illegitimate.'  The Further Notice also seeks comment on whether blocking should be authorized under other circumstances, such as unsigned calls from particular categories of voice providers. Adoption of any safe harbors based on SHAKEN/STIR information is premature. Although major voice providers such as AT&T, Comcast, and T-Mobile have expended significant time and effort to implement the SHAKEN/STIR protocols and functionalities into their networks, the governance structure overseeing the framework approved by the Commission is not yet fully operational. While demonstrating proof of concept, the current signing and verification of caller ID by these major providers is being undertaken outside of the governance framework approved by the Commission. The governance structure contemplates certificates issued by designated and trusted certification authorities that have yet to be established. Although anticipated industry timelines indicate that the governance structure will be operational by the end of this year, and major carriers anticipate integrating their SHAKEN/STIR capabilities into that structure, the Commission should wait until full implementation and gain experience with the effectiveness of the framework, particularly as additional providers enter the SHAKEN/STIR ecosystem, before proposing any safe harbors. "

Additionally, the letter also details other ways that the safe harbor establishment is premature, including the fact that aspects of the framework that are necessary to ensure good customer service are not yet developed, nor is how SHAKEN/STIR information will be presented to consumers.  

The letter concludes with CUNA urging the FCC to "expand its proposed Critical Calls List to include numbers from which financial institutions place fraud alerts, data breach notifications, remediation messages, and mortgage servicing calls required by Federal or State law."