• Event: Federal – Commercial Spectrum Data: Understanding Information Exchange Needs, Issues and Approaches
  • Date: October 21, 2014
  • Location: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA
  • Agenda
  • Speaker Biographies



The NTIA and the FCC are increasing their efforts to identify and make available new spectral bands with the understanding that this will necessitate the use of spectrum sharing techniques. To ensure success, it is critical to first determine the spectrum data requirements of the stakeholders in order to create new policy and develop new techniques and procedures for dynamic spectrum usage. The Presidential Memorandum, Expanding America’s Leadership in Wireless Innovation, released on June 14, 2013, directed the implementation of “policies for sharing with authorized non-federal parties of classified, sensitive, or proprietary data regarding assignments, utilization of spectrum, system configurations, business plans, and other information”. The Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a report in July 2012 that advocated setting up Spectrum Access System (SAS) databases, with a uniform interface analogous to the Internet’s Domain Naming System (DNS), to provide federal information and access restrictions.

Dynamic information sharing and management creates innovative opportunities in many areas including network and business intelligence, devices, applications, public safety operations and security; but developing the next generation of spectrum management tools is complex. It requires consensus among stakeholders on several important issues such as: the purpose of collecting and sharing information, the type and minimal amount of data needed, how to get it into the SAS, the necessary level of security, and enforcement.

To provide a forum for this conversation, the Wireless Spectrum Research and Development Senior Steering Group (WSRD SSG) will hold a workshop, Federal-Commercial Spectrum Data: Understanding Information Exchange Needs, Issues, and Approaches, on October 21, 2014, from 8:00 AM to 5:30PM, at the National Science Foundation facility, in Arlington, VA. Information gathered from this workshop will be used by the WSRD SSG to develop recommendations for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

Workshop Goals

  • Examine the technical and enforcement aspects of data management and federal/non-federal information exchange,
  • Investigate data security and privacy principles, technologies, and implementation techniques,
  • Discuss methods for building trust among stakeholders,
  • Prioritize meaningful and achievable National goals, and,
  • Suggest a roadmap with meaningful R&D outcomes to achieve these goals.

Workshop Session Descriptions

Session I

Collecting and Sharing Data: Purpose, Uses, and Issues

Information sharing is essential to developing robust spectrum sharing solutions. Just as the availability of characteristic radar waveforms spurred on the development of DFS technology, new information exchanges are needed to permit innovators to better evaluate opportunities and optimize systems for spectrum sharing. These information exchanges range from the general information in NTIA’s Spectrum Inventory to detailed systems characteristics exchanged during the recent CSMAC working groups meetings.

All stakeholders agree on the need for shared information to explore designs, conduct studies, and develop systems; key research questions include the following:

  • What information is necessary and sufficient?
  • Can spectrum monitoring data be augmented with government and commercial information without jeopardizing security?
  • Are there accepted modeling and simulation techniques that result in a standard set of sharable system characteristics?
  • Under what conditions can existing models and simulations of transmitters and receivers be used to study sharing scenarios?
  • What role can black box tests and measurements play in determining harm claim thresholds?

Session II

Data Sharing and Obfuscation: State-of-the-art Technologies and Research Needs

As described in Session I, an effective spectrum sharing system will rely on the ability to share relevant spectrum data. However, federal and commercial users have a legitimate need to protect critical spectrum data from disclosure. A fundamental research need is the development of techniques that can protect critical information while enabling useful spectrum sharing processes. In considering this research challenge, two types of data need protection: system data, such as technical equipment characteristics; and operational data, such as system location, operating frequencies, and power.

Key research questions include the following:

  • What data obfuscation techniques exist to protect sensitive data to support bi-directional sharing?
  • How does obfuscation vary for different types of data?
  • How can the effectiveness of these techniques be quantified?
  • What is the trade-off between assuring adequate protection, and allowing spectrum access through sharing?
  • Will the efficacy of data protection degrade over time (i.e. as a result of accumulation of data access events or aggregation of disparate data)? If true, how can the effectiveness be retained?

Session III

Security of Data Storage, Access and Real-time Delivery: Issues, Framework, and Obstacles

Traditional IT data solutions have well segregated physical, logical, and personnel controls. Shared spectrum data services will require that the application software and databases move to large common data centers. This poses security challenges for many stakeholders. Resolving these issues will involve adopting common frameworks, standards, protocols, procedures, and policies. Data security has always been an important element of quality of service; however, unlike traditional IT data solutions, spectrum data will need to work across federal and commercial systems while maintaining secure data creation, translation, update and deletion.

Key research questions include the following:

  • What type of analysis is needed to insure uniform data representation and sensitive data protection?
  • What type of analysis is needed to detect malicious data modification, data poisoning, and other possible forms of attacks?
  • What are the security solutions available for storage and delivery of real time spectrum data between industry and government stakeholders?
  • Where are the gaps in real time spectrum data security research?
  • How often should the database update its spectrum availability data and distribute it to secondary users?

Session IV

Enforcement, Building Trust, and Win-Win Collaboration: Principles, Framework, and Next Steps

The key to successful spectrum sharing is providing a framework that is mutually beneficial for all parties. To achieve the necessary flow of information between commercial and federal users, a framework also requires transparency, trust, and effectiveness of enforcement.

Key questions include the following:

  • How can agreements be structured and enforced so that all parties can get the spectrum access necessary to achieve their respective business or mission requirements?
  • Are there ways to break down information barriers between federal and commercial spectrum users?
  • How can mutually beneficial partnerships be created?
  • Can trusted third party agents be used and are there accepted guidelines for them to follow?