SpinTel in hot water with ACMA over privacy breach

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SpinTel in hot water with ACMA over privacy breach

Personal details of 426 silent line customers published in phone directories.

SpinTel is the latest in a string of retail service providers to be caught out by ACMA for inadvertently allowing the personal details of its silent line customers to be published in a number of phone directories.

ACMA found the Sydney-based company accidentally removed silent line status from 426 of its customer records when it uploaded their details to the integrated public number database (IPND).

As a result, the customers’ names, addresses and phone numbers were published in three online directories between January 2014 and February 2015, and in hard copy editions in some cases.

ACMA found SpinTel has breached the IPND industry code (IPND Code), the Telecommunications Act and the telecommunications consumer protections code.

“This is a clear reminder to industry that all telcos must honour a customer’s request for a silent number, particularly as these requests often arise from concerns over personal safety,” ACMA deputy chairman Richard Bean said in a statement.

SpinTel has agreed to an enforceable undertaking, which includes ensuring its systems can produce real-time customer record reports that can be audited.

The EU, which lasts for 24 months, also requires SpinTel to conduct monthly audits of its customer records and report any discrepancies to ACMA every three months, with an independent audit to be carried out every six months.

In addition, the company is to train all staff dealing with its customer data, have any changes to customer records to be signed off by a supervisor, and hire a compliance officer within six months.

SpinTel has notified all affected customers and offered them a new telephone number free of charge.

The company has been contacted for comment.

The incident is the latest in a series of privacy breaches that have led to the personal details of silent line customers being published in directories.

Earlier this year Telstra blamed one of its wholesale customers for the numbers and addresses of at least 230 unlisted numbers being published in the White Pages online directory.

While Sensis pulled the unlisted residential numbers within a day of being notified of the breach, silent business listings remained on the website up to a week later.

Reseller Southern Phone also accidentally published the names, numbers and addresses of 3854 silent line customers earlier this year.

The publication of the personal details of silent line customers can have devastating implications for the individuals involved.

In one case, a Sydney judge was forced out of his home as a result of Telstra inadvertently listing his name and address in the White Pages. The telco was subsequently fined $18,000 by the Privacy Commissioner.

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