33 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
Copyright © 2015 E. William Horne. All Rights Reserved.
The Telecom Digest for Jun 30, 2015
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|Though I have been trained as a soldier, and participated in many battles, there never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword. I look forward to an epoch when a court, recognized by all nations, will settle international differences, instead of keeping large standing armies as they do in Europe.|
|Ulysses S. Grant|
|Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2015 08:59:18 -0400 From: Gary <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Robocalls - the next level Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> On 6/25/2015 5:24 PM, Don Y wrote: > > I've been trying to sort out effective algorithms to implement an > "automated attendant" (imagine a machine that screens calls like a > "secretary" would). So you aren't even bothered by a phone ringing! On a related note, will CallerID ever be made "spoof proof?" That would help, a lot -Gary|
|Date: Sat, 27 Jun 2015 09:57:22 -0400 (GMT-04:00) From: Michael Dunn <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Robocalls - the next level Message-ID: <11930888.1435413442523.JavaMail.email@example.com> In re: the very actively discussed topic of, essentially, one's phone ringing: I simply don't understand all the concern expressed here. With all the IMPORTANT things going on in a person's life (diet, disease, lifestyle and longevity improvement, etc.) for the very life of me I can't fathom this level of concern with such a simple thing. If the phone rings, answer it. If you don't like what the caller has to say, hang up, or mess with he/she if you like. But for heaven's sake, what is truly the earth-shattering big deal about this? If you hold a butterfly net up in the wind, you will occasionally catch debris. A phone number that rings when dialed is more/less the same thing. Why not simply shake it out when unwanted debris enters, rather than contriving convoluted and complex schemes to avoid the occasional bug that gets in? I have friends, and a wife, who immediately launch into a panic-stricken thought process whenever the phone rings....what does the caller ID say?.....what might this person say?......are Mars, Venus, and moon properly aligned in order to me to answer this call? For every 'troublesome' call that is avoided, that could have been simply dealt with by hanging up, some larger number of "authorized" callers are now inconvenienced. My lifelong best friend has family members that essentially drop my success rate calling him to about 15%, instead of just picking up and saying "Hi Mike, Richard's still at work. Call him there". I have a certain number of persons that I have to TEXT FIRST, instructing them to ANSWER THEIR PHONE, when I call from an unfamiliar landline due to RF connectivity issues to my mobile. Think about that....I have to go find enough signal to get out a text in order to tell them to answer my call from the 'reliable' circuit. What a bunch of hooey. We take common sense issues to extraordinary lengths today. As a nation we can't just mind our own business and let whomever wants to get married do so; we need to embarrass ourselves by coloring the white house with lights. And, apparently, we can't just answer the phone and hang up if we don't like the caller. I don't get it. Michael Dunn|
|Date: Sat, 27 Jun 2015 12:06:48 -0700 From: Don Y <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Robocalls - the next level Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> On 6/26/2015 5:09 PM, tlvp wrote: > Bill Horne wrote: > >> * Blacklists aren't viable, since CID is so easy to forge. > > Whitelists aren't viable either, for exactly the same reason > (I've answered a Timeshare robocaller because it had spoofed the > familiar Chase Online 1-800 Customer Service number as its CLID). You obviously wouldn't rely on CID as a single-factor authenticator for that sort of contact (but probably could for "your friend from college") It, however, brings up another vulnerability alluded to by Bill, up-thread: callers can probe the criteria that you use (either "manually" or with the aid of a screening service) to answer calls in order to take advantage of information leaks. E.g., if you answer a call from Chase, then, chances are, you have an account with them! Any other information the caller may have associated with your phone number (e.g., your full name, address, etc.) has now been augmented by this likely deduction. It's like getting an email from your broker that begins: "Dear valued super-platinum customer..." while it doesn't indicate the actual value of your holdings, it easily puts a bracket on the likely range of values! Much moreso than: "Dear customer" would! This just confirms that you want to have control of the authentication mechanism, not TPC. E.g., there's no public/private database that tells you the "pass key" that my neighbor uses to contact me.|
|Date: Sun, 28 Jun 2015 11:24:33 -0700 From: Don Y <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Robocalls - the next level Message-ID: <email@example.com> On 6/27/2015 4:56 AM, Elmo P. Shagnasty wrote: > In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, > Don Y <email@example.com> wrote: >> I hold no hope for gummit solutions. Control has to be at the called >> party's end of the line. They can allow loopholes for all sorts of >> "special interests; but, if my "secretary" blocks the call from reaching >> my desk, are they going to send an armed contingent to FORCE her to >> pass the call through to me?? Am I required to even answer the phone >> when it rings? E.g., if the CID says "Police Department", there is nothing >> to prevent me from letting the phone ring endlessly -- with the wires to >> the clapper *cut*! >> >> And, legislators to require a tunnel through that service for <whatever>. > > If the discussion and thought processes have gotten to this level, I > think it's time to acknowledge that the usefulness of the telephone as > we grew up with it has passed. Nonsense! It's just stuck in a low-spot in terms of technology. E.g., we could all implement private certificates that are exchanged after the call completes but before the phone "rings" and, thereby, assure ourselves of the identity of the caller. With the "phone per person" trend that seems to be the norm, nowadays, this would be easy to do. Someone wants to "not participate", then it truly is "no CID" (Certificate ID) and you can develop your own policies to handle that (having dealt with the potential for forgery in the design of the certificates and key exchanges) > Mourn it, dump it, and move on with alternate means of communication. You still have the same authentication problem. How do you know that email you received is from the purported sender? How do you know the snail mail's origins? There are lots of ways of dealing with authentication -- by NOT looking at it as a "one size fits all" proposal. Tailor the mechanism to the "value" of that particular authentication (we routinely engage in multiple-factor authentication and don't balk at it -- or the added "complexity" that it imposes on our exchanges: can I have your Costco membership card? And, could you please verify your street address?) The trick is to decide the problem can be solved (without requiring legislation, etc.) and then approaching it with that in mind. Sort of like whether you believe four-leaf clovers are rare and think you'll never find one... or, that they are "there to be found" and you just need to look for them! (half full/half empty)|
|Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2015 12:44:49 -0700 (PDT) From: HAncock4 <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Robocalls - the next level Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> On Friday, June 26, 2015 at 3:09:29 PM UTC-4, Don Y wrote: > I hold no hope for gummit solutions. Control has to be at the called > party's end of the line. They can allow loopholes for all sorts of > "special interests; but, if my "secretary" blocks the call from reaching > my desk, are they going to send an armed contingent to FORCE her to > pass the call through to me?? Am I required to even answer the phone > when it rings? E.g., if the CID says "Police Department", there is nothing > to prevent me from letting the phone ring endlessly -- with the wires to > the clapper *cut*! I respectfully disagree: First, concerning government involvement... Historically, there have been many times where the private sector was unable or unwilling to provide a decent quality of service at a reasonable price and government involvement was required in the public interest. Unfortunately, some problems gave government regulation a bad repuation, and "deregulation" is the popular theme of the day. (Deregulation also allows certain players to make lots of money.) Since Divestiture of the Bell System, new technologies have developed, and some of them have allowed the communications network to be compromised in a bad way, such as fraudulent sales calls. In my opinion, it is clear that we need some reasonable regulation to protect individuals. Second, concerning the content of many robo calls... A great many of the calls are perfectly legal because Congress said so. I think the telecom industry is basically very happy with this since they profit from selling equipment to make the calls, and transmission facilities to carry the calls. Unfortunately, Congress does not seem to care about protecting citizens these days, and has even introduced bills that would allow things like sending sales calls to cell phones, even when the recipient has to pay for them. The general public has to stop being lazy and actually give some thought about who is running for office and vote for the best people. Third, as to ignoring robocalls... There is no law that says you must answer the phone. But the reality is that telephone and robot-calling are being used today to transmit critical information. It would be impractical for a municipality to have a human call every single resident to warn them about an impending flood, utility problem, etc. As to other callers, like it or not, robo calling saves them money and many businesses are exploiting it. Someone else suggested that the telephone was obseolete. I don't agree, indeed, I think some new uses are very beneifical to us.|
|Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2015 01:58:44 -0400 (EDT) From: Robert Bonomi <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Robocalls - the next level Message-ID: <201506291928.t5TJSwkM014910@host203.r-bonomi.com> In article <email@example.com> you write: >On 6/25/2015 5:24 PM, Don Y wrote: > >> I've been trying to sort out effective algorithms to implement an >> "automated attendant" (imagine a machine that screens calls like >> a "secretary" would). So you aren't even bothered by a phone ringing! > > There are several obstacles to designing "smart" telephone answering > machines. Just off the top of my head - > [sneck] > > Still, I applaud your effort: it's an arms race, but you just might > be the winner if you can market it quickly and well. Good luck. Robocalls, and other forms of 'cold-call' marketing rarely know much of anything about "who" they are calling. Challenge-response about the intended recipient can be very effective -- e.g. 'what is my eldest daughter's first name?' with voice-recognition of the response. Especially if you _don't_have__ a daughter. <evil grin> anything that sounds like a name, gets routed to the bit-bucket voice-mail while "you don't have one" rings through. ***** Moderator's Note ***** Please join me in welcoming back a long-time contributor to the digest. Bill Horne Moderator|
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