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Australia's privacy watchdog investigating Optus over 2019 breach

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Aug 6 (Reuters) - Australia's privacy watchdog said on Friday it was investigating Optus, the local unit of Singapore telecom firm Singtel, over the publication of details of customers against their wishes in a directory.

Optus in 2019 informed nearly 50,000 customers that it had mistakenly published their details including names, addresses and phone numbers in the White Pages directory, owned by Sensis, against their wishes, according to local media reports. https://www.smh.com.au/national/thousands-of-optus-mobile-numbers-mistakenly-published-in-white-pages-20191025-p5346z.html

That breach of personal information "may have the potential to cause harm," the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) said in a statement on Friday.

The investigation follows initial inquiries with Optus into the data breach, the regulator said, adding that it would look into whether there are "systematic issues that can be prevented." (https://bit.ly/3lD5S3I)

An Optus spokesperson said the company would continue to work with the OAIC, and that it takes the protection of customers' personal information "very seriously".

(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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