FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has put forth a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would begin the process of changing the government agency’s rules for notification customers and federal law enforcement about data breaches.Rosenworcel explained in a press release that the increased frequency of breaches and leaks is why she shared her new NPRM with colleagues at the FCC, saying:
“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. Customers deserve to be protected against the increase in frequency, sophistication, and scale of these data leaks, and the consequences that can last years after an exposure of personal information. I look forward to having my colleagues join me in taking a fresh look at our data breach reporting rules to better protect consumers, increase security, and reduce the impact of future breaches.”
Updated breach notification requirements
Rosenworcel’s proposal outlines several updates to the FCC’s current rules in regard to how businesses notify customers and government agencies about breaches.
The first of which and likely the most important is that the current seven business day mandatory waiting period for notifying customers of a breach would be eliminated. If the proposal is accepted, this would mean that consumers would have more time to change their passwords and even invest in identity theft protection services before those responsible for a breach could use their data against them.
At the same time, the proposal would expand customer protections by requiring businesses to notify consumers of inadvertent breaches or data leaks. This could put additional pressure on companies to properly secure their data as their business could be affected by the news that they left a database unsecured online. Finally, Rosenworcel’s proposal would require mobile carriers to notify the FCC of all reportable breaches in addition to both the FBI and US Secret Service.
The FCC’s next open meeting is scheduled for later this month and we’ll have to wait until then to see if the government agency approves the new data breach and data leak rules proposed by Rosenworcel.