Canadian regulatory agency grants Bell approval to combat spam calls with AI

Published by:
Posted on: June 9, 2020 6:44 pm EDT

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has granted telecom giant Bell Canada permission to block spam voice calls using AI. In a decision published today, the CRTC announced that Bell and its affiliates will be able to block suspected scam and fraudulent calls on a trial basis that will last 90 days.

In granting permission, the CRTC noted, “The Commission’s determinations in this decision will help ensure that the potential benefits of the trial are extended to the largest number of Canadians possible, while mitigating any negative impact on legitimate telecommunications.”

According to the CRTC, Bell and its affiliates have “proposed to leverage 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 Canada et al. would block subsequent related calls associated with the anomalous activity at the network level.”

At this time, Bell will only have the power to block voice calls. Text messages and internet traffic will not be subject to the scrutiny of Bell’s artificial intelligent algorithms.

Bell’s AI will operate network-wide, which means all calls on its network will be subject to analysis. The AI is expected to work seamlessly, which means neither the caller nor the receiver will receive notification that the call has been analyzed or blocked.

The CRTC revealed last December that Canadian phone companies would have one year to execute a strategy to block callers who spoof their caller ID details. In September, The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is expected to implement the STIR/SHAKEN framework, which will reduce spam call on VOIP lines.

More information about the CRTC’s decision can be found at Bell Canada’s home on the web is