Australia

Internet provider slapped with huge penalty

Internet provider Aussie Broadband has been fined more than $200,000 for massive breaches of rules aimed at protecting the safety of Australians.

It comes after the Australian Communications and Media Authority found the company failed to provide customer information to the Integrated Public Number Database more than 30,000 times between November 2021 and May this year.

The database is used to help locate people in an emergency, for the emergency alert service to warn of situations such as floods and bushfires, and to assist police activities.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said Aussie Broadband’s failure was unacceptable and potentially put people at risk in an emergency.

“While we are not aware anyone was harmed due to the breaches, it is alarming that Aussie Broadband did not have effective processes in place to identify that its customer information was not being provided for over six months,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“While the breaches should not have occurred, we are pleased to see Aussie Broadband moved quickly to upload the missing data once it was brought to its attention and has taken steps to comply in future.”

The company was ordered to pay a $213,120 infringement notice.

ACMA has also ordered Aussie Broadband to continue to comply or risk further action, including in court where penalties of up to $250,000 per breach can apply.

Since 2018, ACMA has taken action against 30 telcos for non-compliance with the database rules, including giving remedial directions and nearly $4m in penalties.

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