Optus faces class action suit for data breach

Telco breaches 50,000 customers’ privacy

Australian law firm, Maurice Blackburn has brought a class action suit against SingTel Optus to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, for a breach of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

The complaint concerns the mistaken disclosure of customer data by Optus.

In October 2019, the Australian telco wrote to customers to tell them that it had mistakenly released names, addresses and phone numbers.

As a result, this information was:

  • Listed online at whitepages.com.au
  • Potentially printed in the local printed White Pages
  • Listed with operator directory assistance
  • Possibly listed in other smaller online directories

It has been reported in the Australian media up to 50,000 customers were affected and the breach discovered when Optus performed a routine audit of  its 10 million customers.

The class action suit comes off the back of court action taken against Optus by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in December 2019.

At the time, the telco was found to have sent about “140,000 people an email that falsely warned their home broadband services would be “disconnected very soon”. It was ordered to pay AUD$6.4 million.

Earlier in February 2019, the ACCC took Optus to Federal Court misleading customers who unknowingly purchased or subscribed to content via the telco’s direct billing service. The telco was fined AUD$10 million.


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