Telstra fined $300k for customer safety and privacy breaches

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Telstra has been hit with a $300,000 fine over privacy failures stemming from "systemic issues" uncovered two years ago.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority announced the fine on Wednesday, claiming the telco failed to provide accurate details of thousands of customers to the national phone registry.

The penalty followed a $2.5 million fine dished out in 2021 when an ACMA investigation first uncovered nearly 850,000 times the carrier failed to comply with its obligations to keep the Integrated Public Number Database properly updated.

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Telstra International Roaming Data


Telstra promised to do better but in September last year admitted it had "failed to provide accurate customer information to the IPND on more than 19,000 occasions between October 2010 and August 2022", ACMA said.

That included incorrectly flagging about 600 silent numbers for directory listing.

Emergency services also use the IPND to help find people in an emergency and to issue emergency alerts.

ACMA chair Nerida O'Loughlin said Telstra still had more to do.

"Telstra needs to focus on completing the program and making sure it is fully compliant with these rules. The IPND is essential in a crisis when emergency services or police need to contact or locate people in harm's way," O'Loughlin said. 

"We will keep Telstra focused on fixing these longstanding issues and giving consumers confidence that their data is being accurately recorded."

On top of the fine, which totalled $306,360, Telstra must commission an independent review of its efforts and check its IPND data quarterly.