September 15, 2015

Stopping Robocalls

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We all hate RoboCalls.  You know what I'm talking about.  You're in the middle of a thought - or a conversation - and the phone starts ringing with a Caller ID that you probably don't recognize.  So you have to answer it or listen to it ring forever.  And then they call back.  Continue Reading...

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    I have long been using Nomorobo services for both business and personal home phone lines. Like you, I fond that it could be spoofed and didn't get rid of certain categories of phone calls, like political surveys.

    What I am looking forward to is the complete abandonment of the PSTN in favor of multimodal contacts through personalized smartphones and tablets, rather than location-based wired phones. The way that calls will be initiated will be changed to "contextual" contacts based on presence information and the recipient's priorities for inbound contacts. A voice (or video) connection will never be made automatically, but will result from approval to escalate from a "notification" message to a realtime connection over an IP connection.

    I have written about this view in my blog venues, particularly, and, with WebRTC (or ORTC) coming into the picture, we should see this vision becoming reality very shortly. This will be particularly important for all types of business communications, where voice conversations are just not enough, but must include information exchange as well.

    Bye bye, POTS!

    Ahhh yes, those endearing calls from Rachel at card services. This is a growing problem, but there is good reason service providers have not been able to solve this dilemma effectively. Foss has a great service, for individual blocking of individual numbers. But consider for a moment this scenario:

    John receives a call from number 123-456-7890. John blocks that call using a service like Nomorobo. Problem solved, and John is no longer effected. Turns out that number is a legitimate call, but John doesn't want to receive it anymore. No problem as only John is effected.

    Now consider telecom XYC implementing a network function that would block number 123-456-7890 from ALL subscribers in their network. Colossal difference in scale, and discussed ad nausea at the recent FCC workshop on the topic.

    There is work underway to create a service within the network core for subscribers, but this will take some time and some serious investment by the CSPs to implement. In the meantime, consider this other issue: many of these calls are using SIP with spoofed identities.

    In fact, the spoofing of SIP identities is a major issue, and why the industry is revisiting SIP IDs. The IETF STIR WG is focused on solving the problem of SIP identities, and until that problem is solved, we will continue to see issues with Robocalling and many other frauds being committed using the same vehicle.

    Nomorobo is a great feature for those using VoIP services, and all of those at the workshop agreed that services like this are great for consumers. But we need to develop several different solutions that will meet the requirements of all of the various network technologies out there - SS7, SIP and even Diameter. Its not that easy a solution, but work is being done.

    A year later, I am more impressed than ever with "Nomorobo." In fact, Nomorobo has become a "must have" for me in choosing a triple-play provider. We now have an option for fiber-based gigabit Internet access, with phone and TV. Essentially the same price as 100 Mbps service with TWC. BUT, the fiber-based carrier does not offer simultaneous ring for phone service, so no nomorobo (at this time.)

    I found this to be a "deal breaker" because I can't fill up 100 Mbps of bandwidth anyhow.

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