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Data Hack in Australian Telecom Firm Could Affect 40% of the Country’s Population

Optus, a telecom company based in Australia, suffered a massive data breach that affected 9.8 million people, raising important questions

hackers data breach

Australia's second-most popular telecom operator Optus has confirmed a data hack which could affect 9.8 million people or almost 40% of the country's population, Reuters reported. "The information which may have been exposed includes customers’ names, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, and, for a subset of customers, addresses, ID document numbers such as driver's license or passport numbers," the company's website states. It also mentions that no passwords or financial details have been compromised. Australia now plans to change its privacy rules so that banks can be notified faster after a company faces cyber attacks, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said, according to a Reuters report. This will help the banks protect the interests of the users, he said and called this incident a "massive breach" and "a huge wake-up call" for the corporate sector. Why it matters?  India's recently released draft of the telecommunication bill stresses on the importance of verification of customers by telecom services to let the person receiving a call know who is calling. This not only applies to traditional operators like Jio and Airtel but also to internet-based communication applications like WhatsApp and Zoom. To ensure that people are not giving fake identities, there might be a provision for telcos to do KYC to identify the caller and the callee, Ashwini Vaishnaw had said. This could include the collection of fingerprint and iris data for KYC by private organisations. Without a dedicated data protection law in India, customers may not have enough control…

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I cover privacy, surveillance and tech policy. In my reporting, I try my best to present the most relevant facts, and sometimes add in a pinch of my thoughts.

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