The Devil is in the Data: Text Blocking, FCC Orders and Maintaining Compliance

Around the world, September brings a new school year, a return to normalcy after summer fun and vacations, and a lot of reasons for businesses to connect before the holiday season throws schedules out of whack again. This year, however, that time of year will be marked by new compliance requirements for organizations across the mobile and communications spaces. Coming into effect in early September, 2024, is the FCC’s new rule regarding targeting (and eliminating) unlawful text messages. 

Of course, when new rulings and regulations like this come into play, end users often rejoice — after all, who likes spam? Businesses too often breathe a sigh of relief as new protections are created to keep their enterprise communications protected against bad actors. However, maintaining compliance with evolving mandates while still catering to core competencies can be a tough balancing act. 

In the lead up to this rule’s date of effect, here’s what you need to know about 47 CFR 64.1200(p) — the FCC’s new order

Boosting Blocking Capabilities for Communications

The short version is this: “Mobile wireless providers are now required to block texts purporting to be from North American Numbering Plan (NANP) numbers on a reasonable Do-Not-Originate (DNO) list.” This includes numbers that purport to be from invalid, unallocated, or unused numbers, and NANP numbers for which the subscriber to the number has requested that texts purporting to originate from that number be blocked. 

The ability to strategically block mobile messages obviously presents a ton of advantages, especially in the face of increasingly sophisticated fraud and brand impersonation schemes. We all know not to click links that look suspicious and all those traditional safety best practices, but in truth, text-based scams can now include incredibly well-designed trickery. Phishing sites can look identical to real websites, making the odds of fooling someone way higher. From these links, people can give private information or even unintentionally download malware onto devices that will steal credentials, passwords and other sensitive data right out from under their noses. 

With this order, the FCC is requiring mobile wireless providers to heighten their blocking protocols to prevent these kinds of messages (the ones with a high likelihood of illegality) from making it through to users. The goal is clear, and the method seems simple at face value — but our mobile ecosystems are growing, evolving and becoming more complicated every day. 

So, how can providers be sure they have the right tools to identify these messages and block the correct ones without creating interruptions to global communications? Well, the FCC has a built-in strategy here, requiring mobile providers to establish and maintain a point of contact for texters to report erroneous blocking. But how about getting it as right as possible from the get go? That is the most effective way to minimize disruption and strain on internal teams, operations and resources — the only question is how to get the job done right. 

Intelligent Data for Intelligent Text Blocking

At the heart of every new regulatory measure and compliance requirement is the need to know your ecosystem. In a world of complex communications and high volumes of traffic, every provider must be a careful steward of their ecosystem, not just setting and forgetting or failing to keep careful validation or vetting practices in place. 

Keeping the ecosystem safe and establishing the proper protocols for seamless compliance comes down to what kind of data you have on hand for every phone number in a given ecosystem. Yes, that sounds like an untamable mass of data, but with the right tool, all that confusion can be easily tamed. 

What if you could know the validity of any phone number anywhere in the world in an instant? That’s immediately actionable insight that can cater to a host of mission-critical processes and business requirements — especially valuable in the face of new FCC regulations. With granular, real-time, up-to-date records of phone number attributes and behaviors, more intelligent and effective decision making can truly be achieved. 

Here’s the best part: This is not a fantasy. This is a real capability that can be deployed within the wireless ecosystem. Welcome to Number Check’s Instant Validation service. Leveraging advanced machine learning models, wireless providers get a simple output about the validity and reachability of every phone number, making it easier than ever to eliminate contact with invalid or illegitimate numbers. This quickly translates into a host of benefits, including:

  • Improved message delivery performance and control
  • Enhanced user experiences
  • Reduced transaction costs
  • Diminished risk and better security

Plus, a smoother and more intuitive path to compliance is a big win here too. By offering an unprecedented level of visibility into a given ecosystem and allowing providers to protect against bad actors from the jump (as in, verify them before they enter the ecosystem), Number Check supports service providers as they move to comply with this new FCC order.

In truth, when it comes to keeping communications safe, the devil truly is in the details — and the details are in the data. 

Want to learn more? Check out our recent Number Check press release or download the associated data sheet here.