Telstra Under Investigation Over Landline Letters

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Telstra is under investigation by two Australian Government bodies after the telco botched a mailout, with some 220,000 letters being sent to customers, each containing the name, phone number and telephone plan of other customers.

Telstra is under investigation by two Australian Government bodies after the telco botched a mailout, with some 220,000 letters being sent to customers, each containing the name, phone number and telephone plan of other customers.

Some 23,500 letters involved customers with silent lines, Telstra has admitted – though it has not said how the shemozzle came to take place. The error involved 10 percent of more than 2.3 million letters sent last week.

It is likely to result in heavy penalties for Telstra, which has apologised to those affected.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority and the Office of the Australian Privacy Commissioner have commenced separate investigations.

“Telstra is taking this issue very seriously. An urgent and thorough investigation is under way to examine how this occurred and to stop it happening again,” Telstra said in a media statement issued yesterday.

The letters went to consumer customers as well as some business houses and contained the customer name, their telephone plan, phone number and, if applicable, reference to their Telstra Pensioner Discount, Telstra said.

But it said no billing or call record information was contained in the letters.

Said Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim: “While I welcome Telstra’s prompt advice that this incident occurred and that it has taken steps to contact affected customers, I am concerned about the amount of personal information that has been disclosed.”
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