Telstra fined $ 2.5 million for failing to protect unlisted phone numbers | Telecommunications industry

Telstra paid $ 2.5 million in fines for failing to list nearly 50,000 people as private numbers to prevent them from being listed in public phone books.

All mobile and landline numbers in Australia are stored in the Integrated Public Numbers Database (IPND), which is managed by Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications company.

When telecom companies register new phone numbers with customer information, they are required to specify whether the phone number should be listed or not.

If a number is not listed, it will not appear in public directories, but may be viewed by law enforcement and national security agencies.

Australia’s Communications and Media Authority (Acma) fined Telstra $ 2.53 million for what it called “large-scale breaches of rules to protect customer privacy and security “. Telstra failed to properly upload nearly 50,000 customer picks to have their number not listed in the database, meaning those numbers were publicly identifiable.

The authority also found that Telstra failed to provide or update national database data for customers of its Internet service provider subsidiary, Belong, on 65,000 occasions.

Acma President Nerida O’Loughlin said it could put some of these people at risk in an emergency when Triple Zero needs to locate someone or issue emergency alerts in the event of a flood or flood. bushfire.

“The provision of these essential services can be hampered and lives at risk if data is missing, incorrect or out of date,” she said. “It is alarming that Telstra could be wrong on such a large scale.”

Failure to register unlisted numbers could also lead to damage, she said.

“When people ask for a silent number, it is often for very important privacy and security reasons, and we know that publishing their contact details can have serious consequences,” she said.

This is the second time Telstra has been found in breach of duty, the first in 2019 after Telstra self-declared her to authority.

Acma said the penalty of $ 2.53 million was the largest of its kind to be imposed for such a violation.

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