Buckle your seatbelt because we’re about to talk income tax returns for a moment. Let the wave of euphoria wash over you. That’s good. Well, it turns out most Americans actually liken anything that is a complete pain to doing their taxes. The fact of the matter is taxes are necessary (thus why they top the list of life’s inevitabilities along with death). They pay for infrastructure, peacekeeping, and a wide variety of social services. Does filing a tax return need to be as complicated as it is? (“If the IRS already knows how much I owe in taxes, why do they ask me to do it?” was an amazingly profound message we saw on social media recently.) While the complexity of filing a tax return may be up for debate, the necessity of paying into the perks of society isn’t. If you like those roads you drive on and having fire fighters show up in an emergency, you’ve got to pay the bill. The good news is, if the paperwork is overwhelming, there’s an $11 billion industry dedicated to tax preparation services to help remove the complexity for those of us who don’t speak tax-code-ese.
In this article, we cover:
- The inevitability of death, taxes, and compliance.
- A quick review of STIR/SHAKEN and robocall mitigation programs.
- How YouMail can help you get TRACED Act–compliant.
We bring up the tax talk because there’s a similar deal when it comes to the swelling issue of spam robocalls. Just as the IRS is charged with fighting tax fraud, it’s the FCC’s job to help keep our lines of communication fraud-free. That is why Congress empowered the FCC with a new set of tools to fight against unwanted robocalls with the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, or the TRACED Act. The TRACED Act comes with many back-end complexities and a big implementation deadline for phone service providers. If you’re not interested in reading and attempting to make sense of the entire 7,178-word law verbatim, have no fear, YouMail is here to break it down.
STIR/SHAKEN or a Robocall Mitigation Program
One of the main components of the TRACED Act is the STIR/SHAKEN caller identification mandate. It stands for the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN). It’s a mouthful, but the bottom line is STIR/SHAKEN takes away one of the biggest vulnerabilities fraudsters exploit: call spoofing.
The important date voice service providers need to keep in mind for STIR/SHAKEN compliance is June 30, 2021. That’s the deadline for originating and terminating phone companies to implement STIR/SHAKEN in the IP portions of their networks. In short, STIR/SHAKEN involves the implementation of digital certificates to ensure trust that the voice service provider is the entity it claims to be and can authenticate its caller ID information. If you’ve implemented STIR/SHAKEN or will have it up by the deadline, you’re good to go — you are or will be in full compliance.
If you don’t anticipate having your call traffic signed with STIR/SHAKEN digital certificates by the imminent June deadline, you still have some options. The FCC will grant extensions to allow voice service providers to continue to operate as long as they have “an appropriate robocall mitigation program to prevent unlawful robocalls from originating on [their] network.”
Understandably, qualifying for an extension can be an elusive task. The FCC isn’t prescriptive in defining robocall mitigation programs. There is no certification or list of approved vendors. To comply:
- The robocall mitigation program should include detailed practices that can reasonably be expected to significantly reduce the origination of illegal robocalls
- The voice service provider must comply with the practices it describes
- The provider shouldn’t knowingly or through negligence serve as the originator for unlawful robocall campaigns
If compliance is attained, the voice service provider will qualify for one of the following extensions:
- A two-year extension to small, including small rural, voice service providers
- An indefinite extension for those that cannot obtain a certificate due to the Governance Authority’s token access policy until such provider is able to obtain a certificate
- A one-year extension to services scheduled for section 214 discontinuance
- An indefinite extension for parts of a voice service provider’s network that rely on technology that cannot initiate, maintain, and terminate SIP calls until a solution for such calls is reasonably available
Where can a voice service provider find a robocall mitigation program that will put it in compliance with the TRACED Act?
YouMail isn’t just for personal robocall blocking or small business communications services — we also have the expertise to assist voice service providers. We allow you to leverage the same data used by authorities to sanction bad actors and carriers, all the while build new revenues by offering your users robocall protection services and vastly improve customer experience. YouMail’s zero-hour robocall mitigation program prevents robocalls from traversing your network in real time with AI-powered analytics and a high-performance API. If you’re ready to get compliant with the FCC regulations in the TRACED Act, schedule a demo with YouMail today.