Congress Puts the ID Back Into Caller ID

Caller ID was supposed to be a great tool for managing business communications and improving worker productivity, at least until some individuals perverted Caller ID by spoofing the originating ID, either to trick people into answering calls or to mask a caller’s true identity. Untrustable caller ID information has been a bane to businesses looking to leverage VoIP and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software – making it a bit harder for the channel to sell those technologies.

Thanks to Congress passing the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2010, falsifying originating caller ID numbers may very well be a problem of the past. With an end to caller ID spoofing, business phone systems that integrate with CRM will once again deliver the value that was once expected. Also, advanced VoIP PBXs that can route calls based upon caller ID information will become much more powerful and will be able to handle advanced “follow-me” or emergency routing rules with relative ease. That will become a powerful selling tool for channel players trying to sell advanced unified communications solutions.

The primary goal of the Truth in Caller ID bill is summarized by, “It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States, in connection with any real time voice communications service, regardless of the technology or network utilized, to cause any caller ID service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information, with the intent to defraud or deceive.”

The bill specifically allows individuals to block their own outbound caller ID information, allowing them to guard their own privacy by not sharing their home or mobile phone number with third parties. However, practices used by some VoIP services, like Google Voice, that replace the actual caller ID information with an alternate number, could be interpreted as a violation of the new law.

Congress was very careful to word the law so that it applies to “any real time voice communications service, regardless of the technology or network utilized.” That language covers the gambit from VoIP to landlines to video calls or any other current or future communication technology.

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