The CRTC has “launched a public consultation to better understand the technical solutions that are currently offered to help Canadians manage unsolicited telecommunications and illegitimate telemarketing calls.”
Recall that last October, the CRTC reported to Industry Minister Moore that it was having a tough time keeping up with ‘miscreants’ placing unwanted telemarketing calls to Canadians.
“A major challenge has emerged in the form of caller identification (ID) “spoofing,” which is the falsification of the phone number that appears on consumers’ caller ID displays.”
In recent months, a Mexican resort company has used caller ID spoofing to launch a barrage of calls to landline and mobile phones that appear to come from a local caller; the call ID matches the area code and exchange of the person being called. The message says that you have been selected based on recent flights or hotel stays, and it claims to be from a major travel partner, such as Marriott, Westjet, Air Canada among others.
So, the press release announces that “The CRTC is also exploring new and innovative solutions that could enhance consumer protections, including those that may reduce illegitimate caller identification (caller ID) spoofing.”
Canadians can participate in this consultation by sharing their views on:
- the technical solutions available to help them manage unsolicited or illegitimate calls
- barriers they may face to adopting or using these solutions, and
- new and innovative solutions that could help them manage unsolicited telecommunications and illegitimate telemarketing calls.
Notice of Consultation 2015-333 has a deadline of September 4 for preliminary information filings and interventions are due by October 16.
So far, the government and the CRTC have tried to stop spam and unwanted calls by through regulations and legislation that have burdened legitimate businesses with expenses and restrictions on their operations. It is not clear that Canadians have seen a meaningful impact on harmful and malicious calls and emails that justify the costs. Earlier this week, the CRTC announced that its costs of enforcement are going up 20% next year – ten times the rate of inflation – and a further 10% the following year.
A friend of mine told me that she started blocking calls from the numbers that were calling her. The problem with that approach is that the calls aren’t really coming from those numbers. So her blocking will prevent one of her real neighbours from reaching her without really stopping the Mexican resort. Banning Caller ID “spoofing” will serve as an impediment to people working from home.
So how do we stop the bad guys?
The notice of consultation is officially called “Empowering Canadians to protect themselves from unsolicited and illegitimate telemarketing calls”.
In March, I suggested a simple, inexpensive, innovative but distinctly un-Canadian solution to empower us to protect ourselves: Just hang up.