Thursday, 07 April 2016 11:15

ACMA sanctions Macquarie Telecom over public database breaches Featured

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ACMA sanctions Macquarie Telecom over public database breaches Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net/images

Macquarie Telecom has been sanctioned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority for contravening the Telecommunications Act and failing to upload customer data for some of its landline and mobile services to the Integrated Public Number Database (IPND).

The ACMA began its investigation following advice from the IPND Manager that some Macquarie Telecom customer data had not been received by, and uploaded to, the IPND since 23 March 2010.

The ACMA says that of its approximately 1.4 million services in operation, Macquarie Telecom did not have fully accurate records for 142,499 services - involving 1,272 different customers - in the period between 23 March 2010 and 3 July 2015.

The investigation found that of this total, 130,883 services - those ported in to Macquarie from other providers - had only those customer details entered in the IPND by the previous providers. For the remaining 11,616 services, no IPND record was made by Macquarie Telecom.

The IPND is a telecommunications industry-wide database of all listed and unlisted public numbers and associated customer data and is a critical data source for responding to emergency calls, the telephone-based emergency alert system, and to assist law enforcement and national security agencies.

The ACMA has now directed Macquarie Telecom to comply with the Code (escalating enforcement options for any further breach) and has accepted an enforceable undertaking (EU) offered by Macquarie Telecom.

The undertaking, enforceable in the Federal Court, commits Macquarie Telecom to upgrading its data collection and reconciliation procedures, engaging an independent auditor to review its processes, instigating a comprehensive education and training program, and reporting to the ACMA.

The acting ACMA Chairman, Richard Bean says “failure by a telco to provide customer information to the IPND is an issue that the ACMA takes very seriously, particularly given emergency service organisations rely on it to respond to calls to Triple Zero”.

Bean said Macquarie Telecom cooperated fully with the ACMA during the investigation and has acknowledged that the authority had reasonable grounds to make its findings.

He also acknowledged that Macquarie Telecom initiated many improvements ahead of the ACMA’s findings and that it will closely monitor Macquarie Telecom’s compliance with the EU and direction.

Bean says the ACMA has accepted four enforceable undertakings under section 572B of the Telecommunications Act in relation to breaches of IPND requirements by other service providers over the past eight years.

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Peter Dinham

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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