With robocalls continuing to be a major source of irritation in the Garden State and beyond, the telephone company you use will soon be implementing a new technology that’s expected to improve things.

Will Wiquist, the deputy press secretary for the Federal Communications Commission, said a system known as STIR SHAKEN will be phased in by all major carriers by the end of the year.

More than 60% of all complaints received by the FCC are about annoying robocalls.

“We all hear about it from our families and friends," he said. The chairman of the FCC himself gets them. We get them on our work lines here at the Commission. Addressing this problem is very important.”

STIR SHAKEN is an acronym for Secure Telephone Identity Revisited Signature based Handling of Asserted information using tokens.

He said STIR SHAKEN is “a set of intertwined standards that allow telephone companies to communicate with each other, to basically say whether a call legitimate, authentic or not.”

Phone companies will be determining where a call is actually coming from, then passing this information along to each other “so that if you’re calling me and you’re a legitimate caller, I know that the number that rings on my phone here is the legitimate number of a legitimate person.”

He noted many robocalls look like they’re coming from your area code, but may in fact be originating from another country halfway around the world, and STIR SHAKEN is designed to be able to identify this.

The way the system will work is when your phone rings, you will get either a brief signal or a written message on an ID screen telling you whether the call you’re getting is authentic or not.

“We’re not mandating exactly how it will look for consumers. That would be up to the carriers. It might say 'possible scam,' or something like that.”

He added STIR SHAKEN should help address the robocall problem but “I don’t think there’s any silver bullet to completely stop robocalls.”


You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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