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Criminals and unscrupulous robocallers have been able to change or “spoof” the caller ID of their calls in order to deceive the called party. This deception can be as simple as changing the calling number so it appears it’s coming from someone local.

The FCC has been encouraging industry to develop a solution to stop robocalls and spoofed calling numbers since 2014. The industry’s has been able to develop a new technology standard called STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited) and SHAKEN (Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs), which defines how telephone service providers should implement the technology to ensure calling numbers are not spoofed.

STIR/SHAKEN uses digital certificates, based on common public key cryptography techniques, to ensure the calling number of a telephone call is secure. Simply put, each telephone service provider obtains their digital certificate from a certificate authority who is trusted by other telephone service providers. The certificate technology enables the called party to verify that the calling number is accurate and has not been spoofed.