​SpinTel customers offered new phone number following privacy breach

Telco failed to protect the privacy of 426 silent line customers ACMA finds

More than 426 SpinTel silent line customers have been offered a new phone number free of charge after their details were accidently published online and in print.

An Australian Communications and Media Authority investigation found that the telco failed to protect the privacy of 426 silent line customers, resulting in their telephone numbers, name and address details being published in three Australian online public number directories between 9 January 2014 and 3 February 2015.

Some of the affected customers also had their details published in regional paper directories. SpinTel notified all affected customers about the incident, the ACMA said.

According to the ACMA, SpinTel accidently removed the unlisted, or silent, number classification from its customer records when uploading data to the Integrated Public Number Database (IPND).

SpinTel was found to have contravened the IPND Industry Code, the Telecommunications Act 1997 and the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code.

The telco has been directed to comply with the data accuracy clause of the IPND Code and complete an enforceable undertaking.

This commits SpinTel to upgrade its data collection, engage an independent auditor to review its processes, begin an education and training program, and report to the ACMA. Failure to meet the enforceable undertaking means SpinTel would be subject to Federal Court action.

“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 chairperson Richard Bean said.

Earlier this year the ACMA accepted an enforceable undertaking from Southern Phone Company Limited after SPC inadvertently removed the silent number classification from its customer records when uploading data to the IPND.

In November last year, Acting Information Commsioner, Timothy Pilgrim, Telstra was ordered to pay $18,000 and apologise to a family law judge after it published his name and address in the White Pages.

The judge had contacted Telstra to have a phone line installed for an alarm system. Telstra published the complainant’s name, address and the number of the phone line in both the White Pages online and hard copy directory through Sensis.