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US Federal Communications Commission Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Telecom Breach Notification

Updated on 2023-01-09: US Federal Communications Commission Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Telecom Breach Notification

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking “to strengthen the Commission’s rules for notifying customers and federal law enforcement of breaches of customer proprietary network information.” According to the notice of proposed rulemaking, telecommunications companies would be required to report breaches to law enforcement and customers as soon as the breaches are detected. In addition, inadvertent customer data exposure would also be deemed a breach.

Note

  • The FCC regulatory efforts have long lagged behind advances in technology and threats. These issues were last addressed by the FCC in 2007 and this is just the first step in gathering feedback on proposed changes in breach reporting requirements and doesn’t even address more important issues like stopping cell phone number spoofing or “pretexting.”
  • This is the second of recent actions by the FCC to establish cybersecurity obligations on US telecommunication providers. The first NPRM, which recently concluded its initial comment period, deals with wireless emergency alerts and establishes a minimum set of cybersecurity requirements. This NPRM seeks to update data breach reporting requirements. It’s my opinion that both form the basis for a set of cybersecurity and reporting requirements that are easily achievable by all telecommunication providers.
  • In today’s environment, a mandatory seven-day waiting period before customer notification is too long. Your customers need as early a warning as possible once you’ve confirmed their data has been breached. The proposed change also includes required reporting top the FCC, FBI and U.S. Secret service, for breaches that meet the criteria of being reportable. The proposed rulemaking comment period goes for 30 days after, with replies due in 60 days.
  • This measure is so obvious that it should hardly require regulation. However, one may well prefer late and a light touch to early and heavy handed. That said, telecoms are infrastructure; safety regulation of infrastructure may not be essential, but it is a legitimate and useful role of government.

Updated on 2023-01-08: FCC working on new data breach rules

The US Federal Communications Commission is updating the data breach reporting rules for US telecommunications providers. According to the proposed rules, carriers that suffer a security breach will be mandated to immediately notify federal agencies of any intrusion. This includes notifying the FBI, Secret Service, and the FCC itself. The new rules also mandate that carriers immediately notify customers; unless otherwise advised by authorities. The FCC’s current data breach notification rules allow carriers to sit on a breach between seven and 30 days before disclosing the incident. This is generally considered harmful as it can allow intruders to weaponize and sell the stolen information. Read more:

Overview: Hello? Yes, it’s the FCC, we have news

The FCC is proposing updating rules for how quickly telecom companies and carriers have to notify customers and consumers about breaches to sensitive data. Telcos, which are highly regulated, would have to immediately alert the FBI, FCC and the Secret Service of breaches (but also human error like inadvertent exposure of customer information) under the new rules, which are currently set at a seven-day waiting period. Why now, I hear you ask? I mean, have you seen how many times T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T have experienced data lapses or losses in recent years? Hint: it’s more than a few. Read more:

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