Thursday, 13 February 2020 10:11

ACMA acts against telcos over breaches of critical customer data rules Featured

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The telecommunications regulator ACMA has taken action against 15 telcos for failing to provide vital information that supports Australia’s emergency services such as Triple Zero and the Emergency Alert system.

The telcos have been directed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority to comply with the critical customer data rules as it steps up its two-year campaign to improve the accuracy of the Integrated Public Number Database (IPND) - a secure database of phone numbers and associated customer information.

The ACMA investigations found the telcos breached the IPND rules by failing to provide customer data, or providing inaccurate data.

Telcos face penalties of up to $10 million if they fail to comply with the remedial directions.

All 15 telcos were issued formal warnings by the ACMA and due to the larger scale of their non-compliance, Business Service Brokers Pty Ltd, Fuzenet Pty Ltd, Kisa Pty Ltd, Swift Networks Group Ltd and TravelSIM Australia Pty Ltd were also given remedial directions to undertake independent audits and implement effective systems, processes and practices to ensure they comply.

The 15 telcos found in breach of the rules by the ACMA were:
Borwood Ltd
Business Service Brokers Pty Ltd t/as TeleChoice
Clubtelco Pty Ltd
DIDWW Ireland Limited
Dodo Services Pty Ltd
Fuzenet Pty Ltd
Kisa Pty Ltd
MyRepublic Pty Ltd
NetSIP Pty Ltd
Swift Networks Group Limited
TPC Consolidated Ltd
TravelSIM Australia Pty Ltd
TruPhone Pty Ltd
Twilio Australia Pty Ltd
Vaya Pty Ltd

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the IPND is a critical source of information for emergency services and is used to get urgent information out to the Australian public quickly and reliably.

“The IPND is used by emergency services across Australia, including for the Emergency Alert system that keeps people informed in a crisis.

“The Emergency Alert system has been used extensively by emergency services over recent months to send a large number of SMS and make phones calls during the recent bushfires.

“While we’re not aware of any specific harm caused as a result of these breaches, it’s important that all telcos meet their obligations to provide accurate and timely information to the IPND,” O’Loughlin said.

“Industry has been on notice for some time that we take non-compliance with the IPND rules seriously. Last year we took strong enforcement action for similar breaches across the major players in the industry. It is simply unacceptable for telcos to not comply with these rules,” said O’Loughlin.

Following the ACMA’s actions in 2019, 11 telcos have recently finalised actions under remedial directions targeted at rectifying large-scale non-compliance.

The ACMA says these actions have seen the quality of data supplied to the IPND from these companies significantly improve.

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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