FCC Seeks Comment on Protective Order for Robocall Mitigation Database Collection

On May 10, 2021, the Wireline Competition Bureau (“WCB”) released a Public Notice (DA 21-546) seeking comment on a adopting a Protective Order for the Robocall Mitigation Database (“Database”) Collection (WC Docket No. 17-97).  WCB recently established the framework for a publicly accessible database to publish voice service provider’s certifications detailing their actions to stem robocalls.  Acknowledging the potential sensitivity of these certifications, WCB is now seeking comment on developing a Protective Order to govern the submission of, and access to, confidential and highly confidential information.

Specifically, WCB proposes, and seeks comment on, the following matters:

  • Submission of Information: WCB proposes to formalize the process for submitting confidential information by requiring voice service providers to file a request for confidentiality in ECFS and to submit redacted and unredacted copies of confidential and highly confidential documents through the portal accompanying the Database, rather than submitting these documents to the Secretary’s Office and Staff.
  • Access to Information: WCB proposes limiting access to confidential and highly confidential information to the following categories: federal, state, local, and Tribal governmental entities involved in robocall enforcement; the registered industry traceback consortium; the STIR/SHAKEN Governance Authority; and outside counsel and consultants of intermediate providers and voice service providers who accept call traffic directly from a voice service provider listed in the database.  WCB seeks comment on the scope of eligible parties, and whether broader or narrower groups will better promote transparency and protect sensitive information.   Additionally, WCB proposes adopting the standard process for obtaining access to information, which includes requiring the seeking party to sign and date an Acknowledgement of Confidentiality agreeing to be bound by the terms of the Protective Order, and to file the Acknowledgement with the FCC and to deliver a copy to the filing provider.
  • Other Protective Order Provisions: WCB proposes adopting the standard provisions in other Commission Protective Orders, including: standard designation of confidential or highly confidential information, challenges to designations, procedures for objecting to the disclosure of information, review of confidential and highly confidential documents, and adopting standard appendices, including the Acknowledgment of Confidentiality, and another that details what information can be designated as highly confidential.  WCB seeks comment on whether and how these procedures should be modified in the context of the Robocall Mitigation Database.

Comments are due 10 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Reply Comments are due 15 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Relatedly, a separate Public Notice (DA 21-549) also released on May 10, 2021, announced that the Secure Telephone Identity Governance Authority (“Governance Authority”) updated its Service Provider Code Token Access Policy (“Policy”).  Originally, the Policy required entities seeking a certificate, among other things, to have access to telephone numbers from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (“NANPA”) and National Pooling Administrator.  Effective immediately, this requirement has been replaced and entities without direct access to telephone numbers may “diligently pursue” the certificate necessary to participate in STIR/SHAKEN as long as they have filed in the Database (and meet any other eligibility requirements established by the Governance Authority).

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