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Telstra breaches privacy laws

Telstra breaches privacy laws

The company refused to give a customer his Meta data, but an Australian privacy commissioner has ruled that the organisation must now provide the information within 10 days.

Ben Grubb, A Fairfax journalist has been in a two year battle to access the details of his web metadata and phone information from the company. Although Telstra provided some information to Mr Grubb but refused to pass on information about internet protocol address information. The organisation also provided edited versions of incoming calls and website information.

TelstraAfter listening to the information presented the Australian privacy commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim said that the requested information MUST be provided to Mr Grubb within 30 days, for free.

“I therefore find that in the present set of circumstances, the metadata held by Telstra to which it refuses to give the complainant access (the so named ‘network data’) constitutes the complainant’s personal information under the Privacy Act,” he stated.

“Telstra’s handling of tens of thousands of requests made by law enforcement bodies, together with its recent public statement affirming that customers may access their metadata on request, suggests instead that Telstra has the capacity through the use of its network and records management systems to ascertain the identity of an individual, and this process of ascertaining an individual’s identity does not exceed the bounds of what is reasonable,”

“I am consequently of the view that the metadata Telstra holds in connection with an individual which permits that individual’s identity to reasonably be ascertained from that metadata constitutes the personal information of that individual under the Privacy Act.” Said Pilgrim.

Telstra has said it will appeal against the decision, as the organisation has argued that certain types of data requested was not personal information, as it could not be linked to his identity.