April 3, 2007
The FCC is requiring landline and wireless carriers to adopt more safeguards that bar pretexting, or the unauthorized disclosure of consumers phone records.
The order on customer proprietary network information (CPNI) contains several provisions, among them the requirement that carriers including VoIP providers cannot release call records unless the caller provides a correct password. Otherwise, the carrier only may send the records in question to the address on file, or by calling the customer on file.
Carriers also must notify customers immediately when a password, back-up password, online account or address of record are created or changed. Further, theyre not allowed to let telemarketers call customers unless the subscribers provides explicit consent to receive such calls.
USTelecom, an association that represents LECs, especially took issue with this clause in the CPNI order.
This is an extremely anti-consumer outcome, said Walter McCormick, president and CEO of USTelecom. This approach also will impede competition, and will particularly impact the smaller rural service providers, who now will be unable to work with outside marketing partners, even though they have no connection to illegal pretexting.
On the other hand, representatives for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) praised the order. It is the latest in what appears to be a positive trend leveraging state and federal resources to stop bad actors, said NARUC President Jim Kerr.
If carriers feel state and federal rules conflict, they have to petition the FCC before taking the matter to court.
This will do much to reduce specious claims of conflict, said Ron Jones, NARUCs consumer affairs committee chairman.
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