CRTC approves Bell to use AI to stop robocalls on a 90-day trial

·Telecom & Tech Reporter

The CRTC has approved Bell’s (BCE) application to use artificial intelligence software to block certain fraudulent and scam voice calls, on a 90-day trial basis. 

A decision from the regulator indicated Bell plans to use AI to “analyze telecommunications traffic in order to flag anomalies that suggest possible fraudulent and scam activity.”

“These anomalies would then be subject to review, and if fraudulent or scam activity is verified, [Bell] would block subsequent related calls associated with the anomalous activity at the network level,” the CRTC said. 

The new system is expected to be implemented at a network-wide level, meaning every call on the network will be analyzed.

“Due to the network layer at which the blocking occurs there is no notification given to either the originator or the intended recipient that a call has been blocked,” the CRTC said, adding that only voice calls will be subject to this analysis. 

“Text messages and other telecommunications would not be affected,” it said. 

In December 2019, the CRTC said carriers would have a year to implement universal network-level blocking of calls with blatantly illegitimate caller identification in order to address spam calls.

The regulator also plans to implement the STIR/SHAKEN framework by September 2020, to reduce Voice-over-Internet-Protocol spam calls. 

The CRTC added in its notice that Bell’s system would “complement these measures by blocking verified fraudulent and scam calls that would otherwise reach consumers.”

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