FCC Chair Proposes New Policies for Carrier Data Breach Reporting


Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel this week proposed updated policies around telecom providers’ reporting of data breaches.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) shared by Rosenworcel within the FCC seeks to strengthen rules for notifying customers affected by a data breach and federal law enforcement.

Per the updated rules, telecommunications carriers no longer have to wait seven days before starting to notify customers of a breach, and telecom services providers are also required to notify those affected by inadvertent breaches.

In addition, carriers would be required to report data breaches not only to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Secret Service, but also to the FCC.

[ READ: T-Mobile Confirms Data Breach Impacts Millions of Customers ]

Given the increase in the number and severity of data breaches involving customer information, the FCC has proposed a series of rules aimed at preventing SIM swapping scams and port-out fraud. 

With the newly proposed changes, the FCC aims to better target cybersecurity threats and improve consumer protection, while also ensuring that federal authorities and the Commission itself are informed of incidents in a timely manner.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking also calls for feedback on whether specific categories of information should be included in the data breach notifications sent to customers, and proposes consistent modifications to the FCC’s telecommunications relay services (TRS) data breach reporting rule. 

“Current law already requires telecommunications carriers to protect the privacy and security of sensitive customer information. But these rules need updating to fully reflect the evolving nature of data breaches and the real-time threat they pose to affected consumers,” Rosenworcel said in a note on the proposed changes.

Related: FCC to Focus Efforts on 5G, Software and Cloud Service Vulnerabilities

Related: T-Mobile Confirms Data Breach Impacts Millions of Customers

Related: Major U.S. Mobile Carriers Vulnerable to SIM Swapping Attacks

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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