The end of spam calls? CRTC call-blocking rules come into force
TORONTO -- Canadians should expect fewer spam phone calls as the deadline to implement call-blocking systems comes into force Thursday.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission set a target of Dec. 19, 2019, for communications service providers to have taken steps to apply call-blocking to their networks.
Calls from numbers that exceed 15 digits, or numbers that can’t be dialed (“spoofed” numbers such as 000-000-0000), should no longer reach Canadian phones if the system is effective.
“Canadians need to have the right tools to manage nuisance calls,” said Ian Scott, chairperson and CEO of the CRTC, in a statement. “With the implementation of a call blocking system, calls that are malformed will be stopped within the network.”
Mark Dillon, director of operations at network security firm Layer0 Security Inc., told CTV News Channel the issue has “gotten really bad. There’s been a lot of people tricked out of their money, out of their time.”
He said part of the issue is because “spoofing” has become easier for scammers to do.
Some providers, including Telus Corp., were exempt from implementing universal call-blocking since it said it would put in place a “filtering system” for robocalls, which the CRTC says provides “more advanced call management features.” Bell Canada and Rogers were among the carriers that committed to have universal call-blocking in place by Thursday.
“At the same time, we are working with the industry on other tools to better protect Canadians from nuisance calls, including a process to alert them when the caller ID has been spoofed,” said Scott in the statement.
But Dillon said these efforts are not enough as they only deal with sets of numbers people already know not to answer.
The CRTC has additional deadlines for providers, including March 2020 to put in place a system for tracing the origin of spam calls, and September 2020 to implement a caller ID authentication and verification measure.
Dillion believes the Sept. 2020 rules will be the more crucial than Thursday’s rollout.
“I do believe in a year and half it’ll be a lot better. It will be nearly impossible to fake a phone call number,” he said before adding a major caveat.
“Scammers will (still) find a way. There’s always some loophole, it will just become less than the majority of your phone calls,” Dillon said.
With files from CTVNews.ca writer Jeremiah Rodriguez