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May 13, 2015

What ISDN Brought into the World, VoIP has Abused

Rob Eleveld was introduced to me to talk about the National Do Not Call Registry and Whitepages Pro, the business product of Whitepages Inc. Rob Eleveld is the General Manager of Whitepages Pro.

As usual, I brought up way too much history.

Virtualizing phone numbers was a battle between the monopoly and enterprise customers, which eventually led to ISDN PRI’s dominating PBX interfaces. That led to modem pools further extending the call to the Internet. Today the public network itself is virtualized with LNP and SDN.

The abuse of spoofed calls has been so bad the government has added regulations to stop the spoofing.  The people choosing to deliberately ignore the regulation are few. However, in effect all outbound cold calling has become tainted. Since numbers are no longer location-specific, choosing where to call is.

While the virtualization is everywhere, Rob wanted to point out to me that there are more than 200 million numbers listed on the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry, and that number changes every day. Those who violate the DNC – for example, by placing robocalls – can be fined up to $16,000 per call, resulting in billions of dollars in fines levied against violators.

For companies that rely on placing outbound calls to contact new leads, the aforementioned statistics are unsettling. With every outbound call, an organization risks a fine, litigation and violating the consumer’s trust by breaking compliance.

As GM of Whitepages Pro, Rob pointed out that their role is to maintain the knowledge of who is part of the Do Not Call list for companies making outbound calls. He also pointed out that often people are not particularly aware that they may have self-identified for Do Not Call in one place, but think that it applies everywhere.

This problem is of real concern with mobile, which rarely adds directory information to the number. In effect, we all look anonymous.

Rob pointed out that the identity in Whitepages Pro enables you to find the other associated identities of a user.

As such, the system provides a white list of people willing to be called and the possible ways to reach them. Now if only everyone would use it.


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