Tele­coms to do more to block robo­calls

Canadian in­dus­try has un­til Dec. 19 to block or fil­ter out il­le­gal calls

The Peterborough Examiner - - BUSINESS - DAVID PADDON

Canada’s telecom com­pa­nies say they’re close to de­ploy­ing new tech­nolo­gies that will help combat a surge of spam phone calls — but add they’re also work­ing with the in­dus­try reg­u­la­tor to bring out more ad­vanced so­lu­tions.

The Canadian Ra­dio-tele­vi­sion and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion has given the in­dus­try un­til Dec. 19 to have sys­tems that block or fil­ter out some il­le­gal phone calls but it has also told ser­vice providers they’ll have to do more.

CRTC spokesper­son Pa­tri­cia Val­ladao says there are tech­ni­cal rea­sons for a rise in fraud­u­lent or nui­sance calls, in­clud­ing phone sys­tems that use voice over in­ter­net pro­to­col (VOIP) for ei­ther le­git­i­mate or crim­i­nal pur­poses.

“Based on the easy ac­cess to this tech­nol­ogy, as well as the in­crease in in­ci­dences, the CRTC is tak­ing reg­u­la­tory mea­sures to bet­ter pro­tect Cana­di­ans against nui­sance calls and scam calls,” Val­ladao says.

For in­stance, the CRTC wants car­ri­ers to put in place a sys­tem for tracing the ori­gin of spam calls — and has given them un­til March 2020 to present a re­port of the trace­back sys­tem.

The sys­tem is con­sid­ered to be a vi­tal tool for en­force­ment of Canada’s laws and reg­u­la­tions.

The CRTC also urges con­sumers to file com­plaints to Canada’s do not call list at lnnte-dncl.gc.ca or 1-866-580-DNCL (3625) or 1-888-DNCL-TTY (362-5889) for the hear­ing im­paired.

In the mean­time, the CRTC and Canadian telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vice providers are tak­ing a se­ries of in­terim steps. One of the pre­lim­i­nary steps is called “uni­ver­sal call block­ing” which will be ap­plied at the net­work level to stop mal­formed and bla­tantly spoofed num­bers such as 000-000-0000.

Bell Canada and Rogers are among the car­ri­ers that have com­mit­ted to have this process in place by Dec. 19.

Bell says it has also ap­plied to the CRTC to con­duct a 90-day trial of new call block­ing tech­nolo­gies that it’s de­vel­op­ing “to fur­ther pro­tect cus­tomers from fraud­u­lent and scam calls.”

Telus Corp., on the other hand, says it will put in place a fil­ter­ing sys­tem that blocks most robo­calls — an al­ter­na­tive that the CRTC has said would be ac­cept­able if in place by Dec. 19.

“Since Telus Call Con­trol aligns with the CRTC’s best prac­tices for call fil­ter­ing ser­vices, Telus is not re­quired to im­ple­ment uni­ver­sal call block­ing, which is far less ef­fec­tive at stop­ping nui­sance calls,” spokesper­son Brandi Rees says.

A Rogers state­ment says it’s work­ing with the CRTC and in­dus­try part­ners to ad­dress the prob­lem, but notes the prob­lem is com­plex and there will need to be an ar­ray of so­lu­tions. It also notes smart­phones have fea­tures for block­ing un­wanted calls and there are also free and paid third-party fil­ter­ing ap­pli­ca­tions on the mar­ket.

How­ever, spoof­ing is an es­pe­cially dif­fi­cult type of un­wanted call be­cause there are le­git­i­mate rea­sons for al­ter­ing a caller’s ID — such as when med­i­cal staff call pa­tients on be­half of a hos­pi­tal.

Val­ladao says there’s only one an­ti­spoof­ing mea­sure be­ing con­sid­ered by the CRTC but it won’t be manda­tory in the U.S. un­til the end of 2019.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

The Canadian Ra­dio-tele­vi­sion and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion wants car­ri­ers to put in place a sys­tem for tracing the ori­gin of spam calls to aid law en­force­ment.

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