No proof of privacy breach, says Telecom

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 05:00 26/11/2011

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Telecom says it found no evidence one of its staff helped a member of the public track down who might have stolen a computer by letting them know who used an internet protocol number issued by the company.

Revealing that information unless legally required is a cardinal sin in the internet industry, as it could be used to track the person's online activities.

Telecommunications Users Association chief executive Paul Brislen said if the breach of privacy did occur, it was unacceptable and he would not be surprised if it was a sackable offence.

He was all in favour of tracking down thieves "but you have got to follow the process".

A poster to an online news group on a gaming website said their laptop had been stolen and they were able to use a remote access feature to see it was connecting to the internet via an internet protocol (IP) number allocated to Xtra. An "insider at Telecom" provided him with the phone number and address of the associated account holder, he said, and he was waiting on police to execute a search warrant.

Telecom spokesman Nick Gowland said it took the privacy of its customers' information very seriously.

It had completed an internal investigation and found "no evidence of a customer's details being provided by a Telecom staff member as alleged".

He said it had strict processes in place to ensure people with access to that information used it correctly.

"All of customers service reps are trained extensively on this point.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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