Meet Peter Ford, Executive Vice President, Information Solutions Business

iconectiv keeps people connected, businesses running and commerce flowing by managing the data needed for the simple, seamless and secure interconnection of networks, devices and applications worldwide. iconectiv’s trusted data intelligence and intimate understanding of the complexities involved in creating, operating and securing communications networks help establish reliable digital identities and make iconectiv the go-to partner for telco and techco companies and those that support it in the fintech and healthtech sectors.

Our business principles are centered around making extraordinarily complex systems and processes comprehensible by simplifying information exchange on a global scale, making it instantly available and being entrusted with the critical data that makes the world run.


What Was The Problem You Set Up To Address And Solve?


Bad actors taking advantage of the technological shift have increased the rate of illegal robocalls and robotexts, Caller ID spoofing, imposter scams and other illegal tactics. As the public remains weary of answering their phones, legitimate businesses are struggling to reach their customers, which not only breaks down this important communication channel but also negatively impacts their bottom line.

This is an ongoing and complex, global problem that has impacted consumer trust in our communications channels. As such, iconectiv ensures that the data that fuels all communications are securely and efficiently curated and maintained so that trusted and known calls and messages are delivered across any network, to any device, and at any time.

iconectiv is bringing trusted communications and identity verification simplification to the next level by leveraging authoritative phone number data. In the United States, for example, iconectiv is the Policy Administrator for the nation’s Calling Number Verification Service, which relies on Caller ID data to identify illegal robocalls and stop them from reaching consumers.

Verifying and appropriately classifying Caller IDs as legitimate has increased the likelihood of the receiving party answering the call while also increasing consumer confidence. In fact, within the first month of the Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs (SHAKEN) in the U.S., total robocalls decreased by 3% and by the first half of 2022, the level of robocalls was down 8% compared to the same period the year before.

With access to billions of pieces of data, iconectiv is working toward making these phone numbers the global foundational identifier and digital encryption key for trust and identity. For example, iconectiv® TruNumber™ Protect provides communications companies with the information they need to identify illegitimate calls and proactively block them before reaching the customer.

Additionally, iconectiv® TruReach™ Certify supports the successful mitigation of illegal robocalls by ensuring Caller ID cannot be tampered with and is securely conveyed through an encrypted digital signature between service provider networks.

Such authentication provides consumers with accurate information about the calling party, making it harder for illegal spoofing. To effectively mitigate the issues of fraud and spam calls on a more global scale, communications service providers (CSPs) will need to focus on cross border call authentication efforts and independently adopt a method that reflects their priorities while maintaining interoperability.


What Are The Biggest Challenges Today When It Comes To Cross Border Communications?


While several countries including the US, Canada and France, are addressing illegal robocalls within the confines of their jurisdiction, there is no cross border regulation in place. This means that policymakers, businesses and CSPs are challenged with finding ways to ensure that calls that originate in one country and terminate in another (or vice versa) receive the correct attestation and call treatment and aren’t inadvertently labeled as fraud.


For example, under the SHAKEN framework in the US, all voice calls must go through an attestation process, which verifies the Caller ID tied to the phone number. Calls receive an A (Full), B (Partial) or C (Gateway) attestation for verification. When a call has undergone complete verification, it is labeled an “A,” which authenticates that the CSP has complete knowledge of the sender and confirms the caller has the rightful authorization to use the associated phone number.

When the CSP recognizes the sender’s identity but lacks information about the origin of the phone number, it is labeled a “B” for partial authentication. The lowest tier is a “C” label, whereby the CSP cannot authenticate the call’s precise source and indicates the Caller ID has not undergone full verification.

Currently, most voice traffic originating outside the U.S. and terminating within it automatically receives a “C” level attestation so many legitimate businesses with international ties are struggling to have their communications verified and known when they reach their customers. There is already a lot of work across the industry to address and resolve this issue in the United States, which will likely be able to be replicated in other countries as well.

We Live In A World That Is More Connected Than Ever; What Do You Believe Is The Biggest Challenge Facing Us?


In the emerging AI world, where the lines between what is real and what is not are blurring—one of the biggest challenges we all face centers around trust. It may become even harder to know your customer (KYC) or for them to know your business (KYB).

As communications fraud becomes more lucrative, with fraudsters knowing how critical such information is, a trusted and verified identity is incredibly important. Since the phone number has essentially become the de facto personal identifier, its integrity must be ironclad as new technologies emerge.

Verified phone numbers allow consumers and businesses to maintain control over their privacy (for instance, confirming their identity with updated registration or login procedures). It is why the phone number is such an incredibly valuable tool in preventing identity theft, account takeovers and other malicious activities.

Ultimately, it can be leveraged to protect individuals, organizations and empower informed decision-making by the public about the data they share and with whom.


Is AI Helping Or Hindering Global And Cross Border Communications?


iconectiv believes it’s still too early to make a determination one way or the other, but we will continue to monitor and evolve our own practices and the use of AI to best support the communications ecosystem.


What Are The Key Differences Between Maintaining Connectivity In The Public Vs The Private Sector?


Maintaining connectivity is important for both the public and private sectors. While they may differ in their roles—with the private sector fostering innovation and creativity, and the public sector serving as an equalizer in ensuring connectivity for all—both sectors are concerned with ensuring robust security and privacy measures.

A key distinction between these two sectors is their target audience. In the public sector, expansive networks and systems must be maintained for the governmental bodies that rely on connectivity for crucial communications. In contrast, the private sector can adapt its business models to align with consumer preferences and desires.

In its pursuit to bridge the attestation gap, iconectiv has observed a steady adoption of new technological advancements within the public sector. Implementing an updated system is no easy task, as it entails navigating numerous checks and balances.

The private sector exhibits a greater willingness to swiftly embrace alternatives, especially when these organizations can gain a competitive edge by adopting them.


What Are iconectiv’s Future Plans?


iconectiv is currently working toward advancing trust in communications and securing the phone number as the key digital identifier is at the forefront of what iconectiv is doing now and will continue to do.

Globally, consumers, businesses and governments depend on communications for services, connections, commerce and convenience. Digital transformation is gaining significant momentum and digital identities are becoming more critical than ever. It is why iconectiv is focused on ensuring that businesses have trust in knowing who their customers are and consumers can trust the company that is calling or texting them.

There are three areas where iconectiv is making a difference:

  1. KYB vetting and verification. In order to establish trust in communications, it’s critical to verify the entity’s digital identity and its originating calls or messages. As the Secure Telephone Identity Policy Administrator (STI-PA), iconectiv supports this verification with its platforms and data sources
  2. Mitigate account takeover fraud. iconectiv supports this with its authoritative phone number data. In fact, iconectiv is in discussions with several financial services companies and it’s clear that they view phone number intelligence as a key digital identifier that can be leveraged to help prevent account takeover fraud
  3. Registration fraud. iconectiv does this by mitigating bot-enabled registration fraud, which involves fraudsters putting thousands of bots on the network to try and register a high volume of scam accounts. Verifying the authenticity of a phone number during the registration process prevents bad actors from creating false accounts

As such, iconectiv continues to be focused on creating a seamless digital identity infrastructure. iconectiv has pinpointed key areas to expand digital identity, including KYB verification and vetting, which is being accomplished by:

Collecting and verifying documentation about the business, employees and operations in order to help organizations and consumers make informed decisions, mitigating risk and allowing for smoother engagement.

Focusing on mitigation efforts against account takeover fraud with our knowledge of phone number intelligence, which holds great value not only for businesses, consumers and service providers but also for key sectors like financial services.

Tackling bot-enabled registration fraud by embedding technology in the network to identify and stop those bots and illegal activities.

Finally, iconectiv hopes the industry can work toward a universal collaboration between regulators, service providers and innovators so that together, the industry can reach the ultimate goal of a globally trusted communications ecosystem.


How Can We Find You?

You can find out more about iconectiv by visiting Follow us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn.