FCC Proposes Call-Blocking from Invalid Numbers, Seeks Input on Other Blocking Criteria

March 23, 2017–The FCC today proposed allowing carriers to block “spoofed” calls that appear to be placed from a line for which the subscriber has made a “do-not-originate” request or from numbers that cannot be valid, such as unallocated or unassigned numbers. The proposal would expand on an industry do-not-originate (DNO) trial conducted by the Industry Robocall Strike Force last year (TRDaily, Oct. 26, 2016), in which participating providers, at the request of the Internal Revenue Service, blocked calls that appeared to come from certain IRS phone numbers, leading to a 90% reduction in consumer complaints about IRS scam calls.

In the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) and notice of inquiry (NOI) adopted unanimously today in Consumer and Governmental Affairs docket 17-59, the FCC also sought input on how to address spoofed calls from outside the U.S. and on additional measures for enabling carriers to block illegal robocalls.  The NOI asks “how to create a safe harbor for providers from FCC call completion rules when they rely on objective criteria to identify and block calls that are highly likely to be fraudulent,” according to a Commission press release. The NOI also asks about what objective criteria might be used to assess whether a call meets the suggested “highly likely to be fraudulent” standard, Jerusha Burnett, an attorney adviser in the Consumer Policy Division of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, said in presenting the item to the Commissioners at their meeting today. Continue reading

FCC Approves VRS Trials Using Specialist Interpreters

March 23, 2017–The FCC today unanimously authorized eight-month trials using video relay service (VRS) specialists in legal, medical, and computer support terminology when appropriate and using deaf VRS interpreters on calls placed by people with limited signing ability or comprehension, although one Commissioner said he would not support making these changes permanent unless the trials demonstrate improved efficiency and cost-effectiveness. In a report and order, notice of inquiry, further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM), and order adopted in Consumer and Governmental Affairs docket 10-51 and 03-123 at today’s Commission meeting, the FCC also authorized VRS providers to make phone numbers available to hearing individuals who know American Sign Language so they can make direct-dialed video calls with deaf individuals.

It also authorized a pilot program to allow VRS interpreters to do their jobs from home “under strict requirements to maintain call quality and confidentiality,” according to an FCC press release.

“To help consumers compare VRS providers, the report and order requires [reporting of] monthly data on [each provider’s] speed of answer,” Robert Aldrich, a legal adviser in the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, said while presenting the item to the Commissioners. Continue reading

S&T Press Release: Encryption Requirements to Change P25 CAP Approved Equipment List

Washington The U.S. Department of Homeland Security today announced a change in the Project 25 Compliance Assessment Program (P25 CAP) listing of grant-eligible radio equipment for first responders. In order to be fully compliant with all P25 CAP requirements, radio equipment that requires encryption must use Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256. Equipment that uses proprietary or other non-standard encryption capabilities without also providing the standard encryption (AES 256) capability does not meet the requirement specified in the Project 25 Compliance Assessment Program Encryption Requirements Compliance Assessment Bulletin (CAB).

“Interoperability is a critical issue for first responders, said DHS Acting Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Robert Griffin. “The problem posed by using variant, non-standard encryption capabilities exacerbates the interoperability challenge.” Continue reading

NPSTC Issues Correction to Blog Post on i3

Last week, NPSTC forwarded you an article, republished with permission from TR Daily, titled “FCC Seeks Comment on APCO, NENA Clash on Suitability of NENA’s i3 NG-911 Standard.” This title was erroneously produced when our publishing platform conjoined two unrelated article titles. NPSTC has received no information to suggest that the FCC intends to seek comment on this matter. The correct title of this article is “APCO, NENA Clash on Suitability of NENA’s i3 NG-911 Standard.”

NPSTC regrets any confusion that this blog posting may have caused.

Senators Reintroduce Bills Focused on Vehicle, Aircraft Cybersecurity

March 22, 2017–Sens. Edward J. Markey (D., Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) said today they reintroduced legislation that would direct the federal government to establish standards for automobile cybersecurity and to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities of the U.S. commercial aviation system.

The two bills – the Security and Privacy in Your Car (SPY Car) Act and the Cybersecurity Standards for Aircraft to Improve Resilience (Cyber AIR) Act – were introduced in the last congress (TRDaily, July 21, 2015, and April 7, 2016), but never made it out of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

The SPY Car bill would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to work with the Federal Trade Commission to develop standards to prevent hacking into control systems of vehicles manufactured for sale in the U.S. NHTSA would have 18 months after the bill becomes law to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking to put the bill’s provisions into effect, and three years after passage to issue final rules. The rules would then be reviewed every three years thereafter and updated as necessary.  Continue reading

FCC Rolls Out New Version of NORS

March 22, 2017–The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau today announced that version 3.0 of the Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) is now in operation.  “NORS Version 3.0 improvements will enhance the overall security and reliability of NORS and allow future evolutions to better support new analytic methods,” according to a public notice. “The new version of NORS has four interfaces: (1) a web-based interface, (2) a Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) Application Programming Interface (API), (3) a Representational State Transfer (REST) API and (4) an Extensible Markup Language (XML) interface.  The SOAP API, REST API and the XML interfaces are intended for use by companies that want to automatically file outage reports.”

Courtesy TRDaily

FCC Bureau Seeks Comment on Probe into AT&T 911 Outages

March 23, 2017–The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau today issued a public notice seeking comment by April 7 on the bureau’s investigation into AT&T, Inc.’s wireless 911 service outages earlier this month.  The bureau’s investigation involves a widely reported outage of AT&T Mobility’s voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) 911 service on March 8, and what appears to be a lesser VoLTE 911 service outage on March 11 that had not been widely reported before today.

Lisa Fowlkes, acting chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, said today during a presentation to FCC Commissioners at their monthly meeting that based on the bureau’s preliminary inquiry into the outages, the March 8 disruption was the result of AT&T reconfiguring connections in its network that affected 911 call routing for VoLTE, and that due to those changes routing of 911 calls failed. She said the March 8 outage lasted for about five hours and was mostly experienced in the southeastern, central, and northeastern portions of the U.S., although it eventually impacted a “significant portion” of the remainder of the country.  According to Ms. Fowlkes, AT&T normally sees a volume of about 44,000 VoLTE 911 calls per day, but on March 8 about 12,600 callers were not able to reach 911 directly, although a small number of callers were able to connect via backup call center routing performed by manual processing.  She said some callers heard fast busy signals, others heard continuous ringing, and others heard nothing. Continue reading