ACCC admits to privacy breach

Personal data of newsletter subscribers made accessible online.
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01.Email addresses exposed


The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has admitted to privacy breaches from several of its websites. The ACCC said in a statement that email addresses of some subscribers to its information alert services were inadvertently made accessible online.

The affected websites are Recalls Australia, Product Safety Australia, SCAMwatch and the ACCC Public Registers website, all of which are used by both consumers and businesses. However, the consumer body said the leaked addresses were not indexed by search engines or linked from a web page on its sites, and therefore could only be found by using specific URLs (web addresses).</p>
The competition regulator said it cut access to the email addresses as soon as it was notified of the problem, adding that it wasn’t yet clear how many users had been affected or how long the issue had existed. The statement said the ACCC takes the issue of privacy, including any breaches, very seriously and apologises to affected users. It is investigating the issue further and reported the breach to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

One of the dangers of such a leak is that once consumers have registered with a website, communications appearing to be from that website would seem more legitimate and recipients may be more likely to fall victim to phishing emails.

The breach is believed to be unrelated to the Heartbleed bug which has caused worldwide security alarm.

For more Consumer news, see Media and news



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