Carriers Offer Privacy Plan for 9-1-1 Indoor Location Database
Wednesday, March 01, 2017 | Comments

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau requested comment on the privacy and security plan for the National Emergency Address Database (NEAD) submitted Feb. 3 by NEAD and national wireless carriers AT&T, T-Mobile USA, Sprint and Verizon.

The NEAD, which is being developed to identify the dispatchable location of wireless 9-1-1 callers when the caller is indoors, is a database that will use media access control (MAC) address information of fixed indoor access points to locate nearby wireless devices. NEAD is a non-profit entity established by CTIA that will oversee development and operation of the NEAD platform and serve as the NEAD administrator.

In a 2015 order adopting rules requiring wireless carriers to improve 9-1-1 location accuracy for emergency calls from mobile devices, the FCC required the nationwide commercial providers to develop a detailed privacy and security plan for the NEAD and to submit it for FCC approval.

The plan states that information in the NEAD on wireless access points will generally come from three sources: service provider records of wireless access points, including MAC address, Bluetooth public device address (BT-PDA) and location information; records from large enterprise systems, such as hotels, restaurants, and retail stores, of wireless access points, including MAC address, BT-PDA and location information; and “eventually, individual consumers, who will be able voluntarily to input information about their wireless access points not otherwise provided to the NEAD along with information necessary for verification.”

The Plan describes the consumer privacy protections that will be incorporated into the operation of the NEAD platform. It also describes “comprehensive controls” to support the security and resiliency of the NEAD platform.

The commission is asking for comment on the adequacy of the proposed privacy and security measures. In addition, the plan addresses personnel management and training and provides that the NEAD platform will undergo privacy and cybersecurity risk assessments on at least an annual basis.

West Safety Services will develop and operate NEAD.

Comments are due March 20, and reply comments are due March 30. The full order is here.

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