STIR/SHAKEN: What it Means for You

Thanks to all who joined M&S Partner Michele Shuster and Senior Attorney Josh Stevens last Thursday for our webinar: STIR/SHAKEN – What it Means for You. Below are additional questions and answers that we did not have time for in the presentation. Were you unable to attend? View this 30-minute webinar in its entirety here

STIR/SHAKEN call authentication stands to restore long-broken trust in the calling ecosystem. By facilitating carriers’ assigning each call with one of three attestation levels, the STIR/SHAKEN standards will provide called parties with confidence that the person who purports to be calling them is in fact that person. However, as with all new technologies, questions remain regarding how STIR/SHAKEN will work in complicated use cases, with enterprises who call on behalf of others, and in connection with legacy non-IP networks and equipment. The following questions were presented during the M&S Thirsty for Knowledge Thursdays webinar “STIR/SHAKEN: What it Means for You” presented on June 4, 2020.

QUESTION: How do you recommend companies monitor their lists to ensure their legitimate phone calls are not blocked?

ANSWER: STIR/SHAKEN is not algorithm-based call blocking and the major carriers and their analytics partners have indicated that STIR/SHAKEN attestation ratings will be just one data element (although perhaps a significant data element) in determining whether a call is blocked. Services exist that allow companies to provide information to carriers and their analytics partners to reduce the chances of calls being blocked. Callers should also seed their lists with numbers that will ring to cell phones from various carriers so that they can monitor for call labels or call blocking and then seek remediation from the carriers either directly or through a service.

Q: How does STIR/SHAKEN affect call centers using legacy (non-IP) equipment or whose calls traverse legacy networks.

A: STIR/SHAKEN only works with IP-based equipment and networks. If a call is made using legacy equipment, it likely will not be given an attestation rating by the originating carrier or it will be given a “C” level gateway attestation – the lowest of the attestation levels. Likewise, if a call originates in an IP-based environment but then transits a legacy network on its way to its termination, the attestation rating assigned to it by the originating carrier will be stripped out.

Q: What ramifications are there for rotating large numbers of caller ID values to avoid a “spam likely” label or call blocking? Similarly, what impact would there be to companies that use local area code services?

A: If the originating carrier assigned the caller ID values to the caller and can properly validate the caller’s identity, then the calls would likely receive an “A” level full attestation. However, if the originating carrier did not assign the caller ID values to the caller but can still validate the caller’s identity, then the calls would likely receive a “B” level partial attestation. It is important for callers to fully understand how their caller ID rotation and local area code services work both from a compatibility with STIR/SHAKEN standpoint and from a broader compliance perspective. For example, if the caller ID value is essentially leased for a brief period of time to the caller and a called party cannot call it back to make a Do Not Call request, then the caller may have regulatory concerns beyond how their calls are treated under STIR/SHAKEN.

Q: What are our thoughts on services that monitor and provide alerts for how a caller’s calls may be labeled or blocked?

A: These types of services can be valuable and offer insights that help businesses modify their calling patterns to reduce mislabeling or blocking of legal calls. Once STIR/SHAKEN is fully deployed, these services may need to adjust how they operate to take a caller’s STIR/SHAKEN attestation rating(s) into account.