FCC Seeks Comments on Feasibility of Outage Reporting System Safeguards



FCC Seeks Comments on Feasibility of Outage Reporting System Safeguards

In March, the FCC adopted a framework for sharing communications outage information with state, federal, and tribal agencies to improve their situational awareness, improve their ability to respond more quickly to outages, and help save lives while protecting data privacy. The new rules allow participating agencies to share critical operational status information with first responders who play a vital role in public safety.

In the notice, the FCC seeks comments on the cost, manner and technological feasibility of agencies receiving access to information under the new rules. This includes potential mechanisms to further limit the vulnerability of NORS and DIRS data to manipulation and inappropriate access, which could otherwise become an increasing risk as the commission expands participating agencies’ access to these systems.

In its order, the FCC adopted several safeguards, including providing read-only access to NORS and DIRS documents, limiting the number of users with access to NORS and DIRS documents at participating agencies, requiring special training for participating agencies regarding their privileges and obligations under the program, and potentially terminating access to agencies that misuse or improperly disclose NORS or DIRS data.

During its approval process, the commission recognized that some of the commenters’ proposals provided in the dossier, including confidential notification, headers or watermarks on outage reports only, might be helpful. Therefore, the committee directed its office in the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) to solicit additional comments on these proposals.

The commission has also delegated authority to the PSHSB to implement in both disaster reporting systems any measures and safeguards it deems appropriate based on the record. However, these should not impose new regulatory requirements on service providers or additional terms on agencies seeking outage data. These new measures and guarantees should also not delay the date of entry into force of the rules.

Comments will be due 30 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register.

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