The Australian Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, has announced that he will be investigating allegations made yesterday by the Sun-Herald that Vodafone has made the personal information of its customers publicly available on an internet site, rather than on an intranet.
“Our Office takes all allegations of privacy breaches very seriously. All organisations should ensure the security of their customers’ personal information or risk breaching the Privacy Act and causing serious customer dissatisfaction and possible loss of business as a result,” Pilgrim said.
He will be investigating if the allegations of Vodafone’s actions constitute a breach of the Privacy Act.
“I am concerned about the amount of personal information that may have been disclosed which could include sensitive information. For this reason I have opened an own motion investigation into the matter today.”
The investigation by the Sun-Herald revealed that the internal customer database was accessible via the Internet rather than a private network or Intranet, and login details of usernames and passwords for stores have been passed on to external sources, including criminal gangs.
Personal information included personal addresses, driver licence numbers and credit card details.
Vodafone Hutchison Australia have told Pilgrim that they will fully cooperate with the investigation. The company, however, has denied that such information was made public as told by the investigative piece.
It is not the only problem Vodafone faces, with a possible class action lawsuit led by Sydney-based law firm Piper Alderman. The suit wants to recover losses to Vodafone customers after recent problems with its network that have dropped calls and poor reception. The company are trying to rectify the situation, though very slowly.