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Telstra Blames ‘Database Misalignment’ For Latest Privacy Breach

Telstra has apologised for exposing personal details of more than 132,000 customers against their express wishes.

The customers had all requested private, or ‘unlisted’ numbers, meaning their phone numbers would not be made publicly available.

However “database misalignment” means that 16,000 of these customers were published in the online version of the White Pages directory, while the remaining had details available through directory assistance.

Telstra’s CFO Michael Ackland (pictured below) told Today the breach was discovered during an internal audit.

“We found there were misalignments where customers, who in our databases we believed should have been unlisted, were flagged as listed in the directory assistance database, and those 16,000 customers in the White Pages database.

“It is unacceptable that this occurred. We of course apologise. Customers have every right to request their service is unlisted which millions of customers do.

“We’re continuing to review and look at our processes and how we audit and reconcile the databases to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

This comes less than a year after communications regulator ACMA handed Telstra a $2.5 million penalty for a similar incidence, where Telstra failed to execute close to 50,000 requests for unlisted or silent numbers.

“When people request a silent number it is often for very important privacy and safety reasons, and we know that the publication of their details can have serious consequences,” ACMA chairwoman Nerida O’Loughlin said at the time.

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