CRTC approves request to extend Bell’s AI call blocking trial

The extension will be effective until the CRTC decides whether to allow Bell to permanently continue blocking calls

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved Bell Canada’s request to extend its artificial intelligence (AI) call blocking trial until it decides whether to make the technology permanent.

Back in June, the CRTC granted Bell and its affiliates a 90-day trial window to block fraudulent and scam voice calls received or transmitted from, to or over its network. Bell’s scam call blocking system was powered by AI, which Bell said could “flag anomalies that suggest possible fraudulent and scam activity.”

Bell filed the extension request on September 2nd, asking that the CRTC allow it to continue blocking calls on an interim basis until the commission issued a decision on a new application seeking to make the call blocking permanent. In the application, Bell said this would ensure call blocking wouldn’t be interrupted while the CRTC makes its decision.

Further, Bell submitted reports to the CRTC detailing the results of the trial. One report revealed that in the first 31 days of the trial, over 66 million fraudulent and scam calls were prevented. More impressive is that Bell says it didn’t receive any reports of false positives in that time.

Moreover, Bell’s extension request included that the company would continue to report results to the CRTC and adhere to other requirements and safeguards established for the original trial decision. The CRTC didn’t receive any intervention regarding Bell’s extension request.

The CRTC concluded an extension of the trial would be “in the public interest” and approved Bell’s request. The extension is subject to the same terms and conditions as the original trial and will be effective until the CRTC issues a decision regarding making the AI call blocking system permanent.

It’s worth noting that when the CRTC granted the trial request, Vidéotron expressed concern that Bell’s system could confuse consumers about measures taken by Bell and measures taken by the CRTC, such as Universal Call Blocking and STIR/SHAKEN. At the time, the CRTC found Bell’s system wouldn’t negatively impact either measure.

Source: CRTC