Solving the Caller ID Problem

by Bruce Stewart

111-callerID.gifIn the wake of the proposed Truth in Caller ID Act, a lengthy discussion of the issues around reliable Caller ID data recently took place on the excellent Voice Over IP Security Alliance VOIPSEC mailing list. While many points were debated, two things are clear: VoIP-based systems connecting to the PSTN have increased the unreliability of Caller ID data, and law enforcement agencies have legitimate needs to be able to get access to call record information that is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.

Solving the Caller ID Problem is John Todd's proposal for a vendor-neutral industry consortium as an alternative to potentially stifling legislation to address these concerns, and was adapted from a post that John made to the VOIPSEC list.

John points out that it is not always possible or obvious how to treat Caller ID data when moving to or from VoIP and the PSTN networks, and there are even business models which are predicated on the ability of caller ID to be transmitted to the PSTN with a value that is not "expected."

Advanced combinations of transmitting Caller ID are part of the natural progression of next-generation services, and customers are demanding a better set of methods to control the way their company and personal calls are identified. It's going to get much more complex and customized from the customer and service provider's perspective, and it's up to us as an industry to figure out how to provide accountability for our customers and ourselves to law enforcement agencies.

John has given this problem a lot of thought and has come up with a plan that I think is better than other proposed solutions and well worth serious consideration. If you have an interest in the future of Voice 2.0 companies and services, I think you'll find John's proposal well worth a read.