Industry Welcomes Proposed FCC Call Blocking Measures; Some Changes Sought
Industry groups welcomed a draft FCC order, NPRM, and notice of inquiry that would expand call blocking requirements and seek comment on additional ways the commission could curb illegal or unwanted robocalls. Commissioners will consider the item during their meeting Thursday (see 2304270077). Some sought additional questions and clarification about the proposed rules.
The draft's proposals include extending call blocking requirements for gateway providers to other voice service providers. If adopted, the order would require originating providers to block illegal traffic when notified by the commission and extend know-your-upstream-provider requirements to all providers. The draft NPRM would seek comment on analytics-based blocking and other call blocking issues, while the NOI would seek comment on call labeling and the use of honeypots to combat illegal calls.
Another proposal would require all voice service providers to "fully respond to traceback requests" within 24 hours of receiving such a request. "Rapid traceback is essential to identifying both callers placing illegal calls and the voice service providers that facilitate them," the draft said. Incompas raised concerns about the proposed rule in separate meetings with aides to Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and Commissioners Brendan Carr and Nathan Simington. The group also met with Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau staff, per an ex parte filing posted Monday in docket 17-97.
A 24-hour deadline "may adversely impact the quality of a provider’s response to an entity seeking traceback and lead to a situation in which a provider submits insufficient or incomplete data," Incompas said. The group asked the commission to allow a "request received" response with information needed to assure that a traceback request will be completed in a timely manner if a 48-hour deadline isn't possible. Incompas also asked that the applicability of any rules be limited to the industry traceback consortium, saying the FCC otherwise "runs the risk of advancing rules that are in conflict with other governmental processes and disrupting well-established procedures."
Some providers sought additional language in the draft. The Cloud Communications Alliance backed the questions on branded calling options like rich call data and other measures on the identity of calling parties. The group sought a question about whether intermediate providers, terminating providers, or their analytics partners should be required to "pass without alteration rich call data or other authenticated caller identification such as caller name, logo or reason for the call,” it said in an ex parte filing.
Transaction Network Services urged the FCC to seek more information about subscribers' "satisfaction" with call labeling services currently offered by providers and how frequently subscribers opt out of a provider's free call labeling service. The provider suggested a question about "additional or enhanced options available to subscribers" and the popularity of such options. It also sought additional questions on the levels of attestation and the role of "crowd feedback in labeling calls."
TNS also raised concerns about the relationship between Stir/Shaken attestations and call labels. "By design, the Stir/Shaken attestation of a call does not indicate whether a call is legal or illegal, or wanted or unwanted," the provider said in an ex parte letter posted Friday, adding the draft NOI "could benefit from additional data identifying the Stir/Shaken characteristics of calls that receive negative labels."