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Going Global: How Different Countries Are Fighting Against Robocalls

international robocalls

An Interview with Jon Peterson, Fellow and Vice President of Research and Consulting, TransUnion

Q. STIR/SHAKEN thus far has been a US initiative. What are regulators and operators in other countries doing to fight robocalls?

I think people everywhere are trying to do anything to get rid of robocalls. In some places, like Brazil and other countries in South America, the robocalling problem is even worse than in the US — as hard as that may be to believe. Anytime we consider this, we're looking at a cocktail of solutions. STIR/SHAKEN is not a silver bullet, but it’s a foundational capability.

When service providers in other countries hear STIR is coming down the pike, they get nervous. They start thinking: This is just going to be a cost center and there’s no upside. But I don’t really think that’s the case because solutions like TruContactTM Branded Call Display (BCD) are opening opportunities that can create a whole new revenue stream. Carriers, especially from the terminating carrier perspective, are there to defend customers from these bad calls. Now they have an opportunity to participate in a process where vetting and various other industry mechanisms can ensure the right information gets to the consumer, helping them decide whether to pick up the call.

So, I guess my counsel to these operators would be to not just look at STIR like broccoli you have to eat. There's a dessert that comes afterward.

Watch the full video series of Jon Peterson's interview here.

And in terms of regulators, because of the success of STIR in North America, I've had the opportunity to talk to quite a few groups around the world that are interested in what this technology can potentially accomplish as far as protecting their constituents. I would counsel them to look closely at the example North America has furnished. Look at the kinds of reactions we see from US carriers and public interest groups to determine the efficacy of this solution. And don’t hesitate to reach out. I'm happy to talk with anyone about this, and I'm sure my colleagues at TransUnion feel the same way.

Q. What does the future of international call authentication look like?

I would love to see a world where a call that’s placed in one STIR/SHAKEN jurisdiction will be accepted as a signed call. We'll get a green check mark (or whatever it may be in other jurisdictions internationally) because we're able to take the trust we've established within these national domains and spread it globally to anyone who opts in to participate in the STIR/SHAKEN ecosystem.

There are a couple of ways that might happen. For example, through bilateral agreements between regulators and different nation states that are open to sharing their lists of trusted certificates. Or, through a variety of proposed industry efforts that enroll people in systems that aren't just national in scope. I see a lot of potential here and a much room for innovation and clever thinking about how we're going enable the call signatures we create (that secure calls with STIR/SHAKEN) to be portable. They get a literal ‘passport’ that lets them cross borders.

Download the infographic to learn how STIR/SHAKEN works.

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