Last Updated: 25 May 2005
ENUM is a protocol for translating telephone numbers into Internet Domain Names and mapping telephone numbers to other means of communication such as email, fax and mobile numbers.
ENUM poses serious risks to individuals' privacy because it creates a unique individual identifier and, also, the proposed system design (as at November 2002) required personal information about individuals, who have an ENUM address, to be made publicly-accessible in a database on the Internet.
In September 2002, the Australian Communications Authority ("ACA") called for public submissions in relation to the possible implementation of ENUM in Australia. EFA sent a submission which, among other things, advised that EFA had doubts that the technical design of the ENUM system would be capable of delivering adequate privacy protection for telephone users and Internet users. EFA was of the view that, at the least, considerably more technical work would need to be undertaken with the objective of building privacy protections into the technical design.
Following the public consultation, the Australian Communications Authority convened the Australian ENUM Discussion Group ("AEDG") and subsequently (in September 2003) the AEDG organised a sub-committee named the Privacy and Security Working Group ("P&SWG"). This group includes privacy advocates and technical people (and includes an EFA representative).
Considerable work has since been undertaken towards appropriately addressing privacy and security issues in preparation for an Australian ENUM trial. Among other things a set of privacy guidelines, the Privacy Addendum to the Context Document for the Australian ENUM Trial (final), was developed by the P&SWG and agreed to by the main AEDG. The Registry Operator for the trial is required to comply with those guidelines (as stated in the Call for Expressions of Interest for a Tier 1 Registry Operator for the Australian Trial of ENUM).
EFA has been impressed by the serious attention to privacy and security paid by a number of the technical people/proponents of ENUM and relevant ACA personnel and considers these matters have been appropriately dealt with for the purpose of an Australian ENUM trial, which is expected to go live on 6 June 2005.
There are additional privacy and security issues that need to be addressed before ENUM could be officially implemented in Australia and made available to the general public (i.e. other than during the trial) and EFA understands that the ACA and AEDG intend that more work will be undertaken on those issues after the findings of the trial.
For more information, see:
- ENUM, Australian Communications Authority's web site
- Australian ENUM Discussion Group, including meeting minutes and papers
- Official website for the Australian ENUM Trial
- Submissions in response to the Australian Communications Authority ("ACA") September 2002 Discussion Paper titled Implementation of ENUM in Australia:
- Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) web page about ENUM
- Roger Clarke's web page about ENUM