Are the PCI Council's FAQs Incorporated and Part of the PCI Standard?
This is the basic question I posed to Bob Russo, General Manager of the PCI Council, during an online PCI forum put on by SC Magazine:
Are the FAQs incorporated into and automatically made part of the PCI Standard when published? If so, is there a document or some sort of proclamation indicating that the FAQs are part of the PCI Standard?
Mr. Russo orally indicated "yes," the FAQs are intended to become part of the PCI Standard when they are published. Mr. Russo, however, was not aware of any document or proclamation that indicated that the FAQs were incorporated/made part of the PCI Standard. He indicated that he was making a note on that point to see about creating such a document. What does this potentially mean in terms of legal liability issues? Well at least with FAQs, if they are made part of the PCI Standard, merchants and QSAs will have a stronger argument of the authoritative weight of the FAQs if ever challenged on the issues addressed in the FAQ. However, this still does not mitigate potential risk around receiving "informal" advice on ambiguities from the PCI Council, processors or merchant banks. Since this type of informal advice is not officially made part of the PCI Standard, its ability to be relied upon as interpretative authority in court or otherwise is arguably weaker. More on these issues to come.