Will Samsung join Biden’s war on robocalls? Will it get to choose?

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The Biden administration’s war on robocalls is heating up, and Samsung might actually get involved in it. The real question is – who will get to decide that? As the American wireless industry can attest, not all stakeholders have been given the luxury of choice.

As of this week, stateside carriers are legally obliged to verify the identities of all callers perusing their infrastructure. That goes for both outgoing and incoming calls, though the entirety of the directive – authored by the Federal Communications Commission – is aimed at stopping robocalls. Or reducing their ridiculous abundance in the U.S., at the very least.

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The deadline officially passed on Sunday midnight, the 30th of June, to be exact. And the carriers weren’t left to figure out how to do identity verification on their own. Washington tried that already. Not once, but eleven times – which is how many administrations came and went through the Oval Office since the Reagan era, when robocalls became a thing.

The wireless industry, meanwhile, probably wasn’t in a rush to stop these predators on account of the fact they were making money from them, hand-over-fist style. This would be why their repeated claims of being helpless to do anything against the trend should have always been met with skepticism. Alas, that’s finally what seems to be happening this year, with the so-called STIR/SHAKEN initiative.

The catchy acronym stands for, pay attention: the “Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) standards”, as per the FCC. You got all that, carriers? We’ll find out soon enough. But yeah, the majority of the tech meant to handle the identity verification part of the directive has already been secured. The government effort officially started back in November, which is when the FCC announced the June deadline for carriers to implement the protocol, or else.

This is yet another political front whereon Samsung seems like a natural ally for the Biden administration. The Washington-Seoul relations have been progressing rather steadily ever since the sitting President took office half a year ago. Not only is the South Korean giant planning to invest billions in a new chipmaking monster project in the heart of Texas, but Samsung SDI also greenlit plans for another battery plant in the U.S., according to recent reports.

As these things usually go, the quid pro quo situation is rather simple: money. Money packaged as tens of thousands of new high-paying jobs for Americans, and even more thinly veiled money in the form of tax breaks. So while no one owes anyone anything, the sole fact that the White House and Samsung are maintaining active relations suggest the STIR/SHAKEN initiative isn’t without a plan B. After all, Samsung launched a comprehensive effort to combat this annoying trend just last year. And in our experience, the project has been a relative success so far. Have you noticed that yourself? Or maybe had an opposite experience?

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