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CWU Media Release

Telco customer privacy breaches disgracefully predicable: Union

Telco customer privacy breaches disgracefully predictable: Union Breaches of customer privacy involving overseas call centres are entirely predictable, according to the Communications Union.

They were responding to reporting by Fairfax that corrupt insiders in overseas call centres are selling the personal and private data belonging to Australian Telstra, Optus and Vodafone customers.

According to the reports, the information is sold to third parties who in turn on-sell it to clients for anywhere between $350 and $1,000 depending on the status of the customer.

CEPU Communications Division National Assistant Secretary John O’Donnell said the Union had raised the matter of customer privacy with Telstra only a few weeks ago, and had been assured that the company’s customer data was well protected.

“It seems Telstra’s data is not as secure as it thought,” Mr. O’Donnell said.

“And why would it be?

“There is always a risk of security breaches wherever such information is handled and stored, but offshoring adds to that risk by weakening the connection between workers, their employers and the customers they serve.

“At a distance it’s just all data, not people you’re dealing with and the incentives for low-wage employees to make an extra dollar results in the ideal environment for just this sort of scam.”

Mr O’Donnell said the most obvious step for Australian telcos to take was to bring the call centre work back home.

“What Telstra, Optus and Vodafone may be saving through low wages they are losing in reputational damage.

“It is now clearer than ever that the cost-savings associated with offshoring Aussie jobs are being off-set by Australians’ personal privacy.

“It’s disgraceful and it must end now. It’s time to bring these jobs and the private personal data of thousands of Australians back home.”

Mr. O’Donnell said the Union would be continuing to pursue the issue with the companies involved.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Leesa Maroske, 0439 784 216

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