Have you ever tried to call for information concerning your phone service, only to be rebuffed by a customer service rep because you weren’t authorized on the account? It can be a frustrating roadblock, but it’s actually one that exists to protect you and your data.
Read on to learn more about Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) and how federal law benefits you.
Understanding the Basics of CPNI
Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) is the official term for your data as a communications customer. Your data is protected against unauthorized use and disclosure under federal law. Under CPNI regulations, service providers like S&T are forbidden from disclosing:
- Information about the quantity, technical configuration, type, destination, location, and amount of use of your communications services
- Any information contained on your bill regarding communications services
For those who don’t understand the industry jargon, it means that unless you’re authorized on the account, there’s certain information you won’t be able to access. Things like phone numbers called, the length of conversations and the account holder’s services can only be disclosed to the account holder. It’s the law.
There are a few things that CPNI doesn’t include, though. For example, CPNI doesn’t target aggregated information—that is, nonspecific data—to a single customer. It also doesn’t include information about non-telecommunications services, like Internet access.
It doesn’t matter your relationship to the account holder, even if you’re the spouse or next of kin. If you’re not on the account, we can’t share unauthorized information, no matter what. While the policy can be frustrating, the law actually exists to protect you.
A Brief History of CPNI
Thanks to the U.S. Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the body that regulates how CPNI is used and distributed. The FCC is charged with managing your privacy as a communications services customer. In 2007, the FCC CPNI Order created additional rules and restrictions for managing CPNI.
These regulations limited the information carriers could disclose to third-party marketing firms without first securing customer consent, such as the circumstances that allowed customer service reps to share call details, and created new, rigorous customer identity verification procedures for carriers.
CPNI regulations are in place to protect you, the customer, from unscrupulous marketers and potential fraudsters. Although it might seem unnecessary to protect your comms data from your loved ones, you might be surprised at how common—and dangerous—data breaches can be. A few examples include multiple breaches in the T-Mobile system, a Home Depot SNAFU, and, more seriously, a multi-million dollar AT&T SIM-swap theft.
While CPNI restrictions may seem like a hassle, they’re there to protect you, your information, and your privacy. And at S&T, we don’t just want to keep you connected—we want to keep you protected, too.