Telco industry called to pitch in on mobile number porting fraud rules

Telco industry called to pitch in on mobile number porting fraud rules

ACMA is looking for an updated industry standard on a new verification process

Credit: Dreamstime

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has put out a request for feedback to help shape the standard dictating how telecommunication providers handle the porting of mobile numbers to avoid fraudulent requests.

ACMA has opened discussion channels on a new set of rules through a draft of the Telecommunications (Mobile Number-Pre-Porting Additional Identify Verification) Industry Standard 2020 in an attempt to prevent mobile number porting fraud.

Specifically, ACMA is looking for feedback on a new verification process, application to customer types, effectiveness, feasibility and cost, costs to customers, customer information and advice.

Under a consultation paper provided by ACMA, the objectives of the draft industry standard are focused on the prevention of unauthorised porting of mobile numbers, reducing harm to customers arising from unauthorised mobile number porting, having checks in place that any number porting requests are legitimate.

The objectives are also focused on placing obligations on mobile service providers to create a verification process for number porting and to inform customers about the verification process, reporting channels and support services.

By focusing on these specific outcomes, the consultation paper noted that while telecommunication providers are not responsible for the actions of scammers, they are responsible for the security of their own networks.

“For these reasons, the industry standard has been drafted to meet the required objectives, while leaving it open to providers to determine which processes are applicable, and how they will be implemented,” the consultation paper stated.

“This approach will promote innovation and adaptation in the medium to longer term, while also ensuring specific and/or sensitive information is not published that could be used by scammers.”

Despite the flexibility given however, the consultation paper states verification processes need to confirm the person requesting a number port is who they claim to be and the network provider the user is porting to must have a process of showing their satisfaction that the number porter is who they claim to be.

Additionally, the consultation paper is considering integrating the National Identity Security Strategy and National Identity Proofing Guidelines into the industry standard to protect the identity of Australians through a "silver standard".

This silver standard would include a manual comparison of a person’s face against a photograph on a primary piece of evidence, biometric verification and knowledge-based authentication.

The consultation paper also notes however that the draft industry standard is not specific on the implementation of multi-factor verification.

The consultation period is open for submissions until 19 January 2020, which can be sent online via the ACMA website or by mail.

After the submission close date, the industry standard must be made by 28 February 2020 and commence by 30 April 2020.

The opening of submissions towards the draft industry standard follows comments made by Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts in October about regulatory measures not being picked up by telco resellers to combat number porting fraud.

“The Government expects all telcos to pull their weight. I want Australians to be confident that every telco has put in place strong verification processes to stop fraudulent mobile number porting and the devastating consequences it can have for victims,” Fletcher said at the time.

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