Home Business IT Security Telstra – sorry we leaked your data

Jamieson – sorry, it won’t happen again. Promise. Jamieson – sorry, it won’t happen again. Promise. Featured

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Telstra has apologised for leaking customer data online. It is not the first time it has happened, and it is unlikely to be the last.

A major breach of Telstra’s customer data information has uncovered by Melbourne online marketer Lee Gaywood, who discovered private customer data while googling telco access codes for his business. He immediately contacted Fairfax Media, which informed Telstra.

Peter Jamieson, Telstra’s Executive Director of Customer Service, has written a blog apologising for the incident. “Like any customer of any company I have the expectation that my personal details are securely stored and not publicly accessible. No doubt you all have the same expectations.

“So when we learnt some of our customers’ details were publicly available we immediately convened a team to have access to the data removed and commence an investigation. It is not acceptable, under any circumstances, for this to happen.”

Jamieson said Telstra takes confidentiality seriously. “Our customers trust us and we recognise the responsibility this trust means to get this right.

“We are still investigating what happened and the team worked round the clock trying to pinpoint how this happened.”

Much of the information was publicly available, and some of it was up to six years old, but Jamieson said that Telstra is “acutely aware of the possibility that some of the information may be sensitive to some. We will take all steps to identify these customers and work with them on an individual basis. Additionally we will be contacting all customers whose information was inadvertently made available.

“What has happened is unacceptable, I apologise and assure everybody that we’ll find out exactly what has happened here and do everything we can to make sure this does not happen again.” 

That’s what Telstra said last time, and the time before that. It is a serial offender. Last July CEO David Thodey said “customer privacy is not negotiable” after previous breaches were exposed. Obviously work still needs to be done.


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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.