ACCC suffers privacy breach

April 11, 2014 |

The Age in Personal data exposed by ACCC security lapse reports on a privacy breach by the ACCC.

It provides:

Australia’s competition regulator has been hit with an embarrassing security lapse after its confidential email subscriber list was accidentally displayed on the internet.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in a statement that personal data collected by several of its websites had been placed online.

The websites included Recalls Australia, SCAMwatch, Product Safety Australia and the ACCC Public Registers website.

SCAMwatch is the main website and program used by the ACCC to fight internet and telephone scammers.

“The ACCC has today become aware of a breach of personal data collected from some of its websites,” the ACCC said in a statement.

“The email addresses of some subscribers to the ACCC’s information alert services were inadvertently made accessible online.

“They could only be found if specific URLs were tried.”

The ACCC said it shut the door on the vulnerability as soon as it became aware of the problem but that it did not know how many users had been affected or how long the problem had existed.

“The ACCC takes the issue of privacy, including any breaches, very seriously and apologises to affected users,” it said.

“The ACCC has no further comment at this time.”

The ACC’s statement is found at ACCC statement regarding its websites.

It provides:

The ACCC has today become aware of a breach of personal data collected from some of its websites. The affected websites are Recalls Australia, Product Safety Australia, SCAMwatch and the ACCC Public Registers website.

The email addresses of some subscribers to the ACCC’s information alert services were inadvertently made accessible online. They were not indexed by search engines or linked from a web page on our sites. They could only be found if specific URLs were tried.

The ACCC resolved this issue as soon as it became aware of it to prevent further access to the email addresses. 

The ACCC is investigating how this issue occurred and is reporting this breach to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

It is not yet clear to the ACCC how many users have been affected or how long this has been an issue.

The ACCC takes the issue of privacy, including any breaches, very seriously and apologises to affected users.

The ACCC has no further comment at this time.

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