New Regulation of Text Messaging Services Proposed by FCC Acting Chair Rosenworcel

The Federal Communications Commission appears to be headed in the same direction with the regulation of texting and SMS platforms that it has with telephone service providers. Currently, the FCC requires voice service providers to either comply with STIR/SHAKEN (sign calls using digital certificates) or, if a Small Voice Service Provider, register with the FCC’s Robocall Mitigation Database. Voice services providers that fail to gatekeep by allowing customers to initiate illegal or unwanted calls can be labeled by the FCC as “unreliable” and denied access to telecom networks by downstream carriers. STIR/SHAKEN does not currently apply to texting services.

While the text of the proposed rule has not been made publicly available, the FCC reports that if the rulemaking is passed it would explore network level blocking and applying caller authentication standards to text messaging.

Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel commented, “We’ve seen a rise in scammers trying to take advantage of our trust of text messages by sending bogus robotexts that try to trick consumers to share sensitive information or click on malicious links.  It’s time we take steps to confront this latest wave of fraud and identify how mobile carriers can block these automated messages before they have the opportunity to cause any harm.”

We would anticipate that the FCC would be heavily influenced in any future rulemaking by the STIR/SHAKEN protocols that have already been adopted as well as its push to make carriers and platform service providers serve as gatekeepers of texting.