Comcast has agreed to pay a fine of $33 million after being accused of illegally posting personal account details of its customers online. The cable giant also added that it will ‘overhaul’ its operations to avoid such incidents in the future.
Cable operator behemoth Comcast has settled with authorities in California over its accidental publishing of nearly 75,000 customers’ personal details who had specifically paid to keep their information private, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The 75,000 affected customers had opted for ‘unlisted voice-over-IP’ by paying over $1.50 every month to keep their data off the records in private. The leaked data had subsequently been posted online after it was sold through a listings data licensing company.
A total payout of $33 million has been agreed for a settlement by Comcast. Out of the total figure, $25 million will be paid to state agencies – California Department of Justice and California Public Utilities Commission as penalties and scrutiny costs. Additionally, each customer affected by the breach will receive $100 individually.
The leak of customers’ names, addresses and phone numbers between 2010 and 2012 has also resulted in $432,000 funneled to nearly 200 domestic abuse victims, law enforcement officers and judges who claim to face safety concerns due to the leak.
A Troubling Breach of Privacy
In a statement, Kamala Harris, California’s Attorney General said:
“Violations of consumers’ privacy will result in significant penalties,” while adding that the leak of customers’ personal data was a “troubling breach of privacy.”
A Comcast spokesperson, Jenni Moyer, while speaking to iFreePress said:
“This was an error that was a result of very specific system updates that didn’t include current directory listing statuses for certain customers in California in that time frame.”
Comcast also guaranteed a review and the improvement of the process to handle customer complaints. The cable company also confirmed strengthening restrictions in the way its vendors use customers’ personal information.
Comcast, in a statement, said:
“We are pleased to have reached a settlement with the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Attorney General’s office that brings this matter to closure.”
Although the leak and breach of customers’ information occurred five years ago, Comcast users with any queries can call Comcast at 1-855-290-6262.