How the FCC Privacy Bill Applies to VoIP, UCaaS, and CCaaS
Because of increasing concerns about the safety and security of their personal information, consumers are demanding more oversight and regulations to ensure that service providers are protecting their sensitive data.
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) adopted an internet privacy rule to give customers of broadband and telecommunication services meaningful choices and greater transparency while protecting the security of their personal data collected by Internet Service Providers (ISPs.)
Here's what the FCC privacy bill entails and how it affects broadband and telecommunication service providers (e.g., UCaaS, CCaaS, and VoIP):
What Is the FCC Privacy Bill?
The FCC privacy bill provides broadband customers the tools, information, and control mechanisms they need to make informed decisions about how their information is used and shared by their ISPs. Customer consents are required for ISPs to use and share their customers’ personal information, the level of which is calibrated to the sensitivity of the information.
The rules classify the use and sharing of information into three categories. They include specific guidelines for both ISPs and customers on handling the transparency, choice, and security of consumers' personal information:
- Opt-in: Providers need affirmative consent from consumers before they can use and share personal information, including geographic location, social security numbers, internet usage history, as well as financial, health, and children information.
- Opt-out: Unless a customer “opts out,” a provider can use and share non-sensitive individually identifiable customer information such as email addresses and service information.
- Exceptions to consent requirements: By establishing a customer-ISP relationship, additional consent is not required to utilize certain customer information, such as providing broadband service or billing and collection.
In addition, the FCC internet privacy rules cover aspects pertaining to transparency and security of consumer information:
- Transparency requirements: ISPs are required to provide clear and conspicuous notices on how they collect, use, and share customer information, as well as how customers can manage their privacy settings or preferences.
- Data security requirements: ISPs are required to implement systems and processes to ensure data security. The FCC privacy bill provides recommendations for providers to follow, such as industry best practices, security oversight, customer authentication, and proper data disposal in a way that's consistent with FTC best practices and the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.
- Common-sense notification for data breach requirements: ISPs should protect the confidentiality of customer data and notify consumers and law enforcement when there's a data breach.
How Does the FCC Privacy Bill Affect UCaaS, CCaaS, and VoIP Services?
As broadband and telecommunication service providers, companies that offer UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service), CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service), and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) are required to follow the FCC’s internet privacy rules:
- Providers may use, divulge, or grant access to a customer’s calling record when required by law, approved by the customer, or while providing the service for which the information was obtained.
- Providers can only release customer information upon the customer's request, along with a valid password for online and phone requests, or a photo ID for in-person requests.
- Providers must practice common password security hygiene, obtain customers' approval prior to using their data for marketing, and maintain accurate records of customer information disclosure to third parties.
- Providers must submit a yearly summary of all complaints to the FCC regarding the unauthorized release of customer information and certify that they're compliant with FCC rules.
- Phone service providers should offer simple and uniform per-line blocking and unblocking processes.
Protect Your Customers’ Information
Consumers are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of data safety and security, and they're demanding more accountability from their service providers.
The FCC privacy rules are designed to protect the sensitive and personal information of consumers that use broadband and telecommunication services. By following these guidelines, telecommunication companies can ensure that their data security protocol is meeting customer expectations and offering the protection consumers demand from service providers.
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