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ACMA issues formal warning to phone directory publisher

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has issued a formal warning to digital marketer Localsearch Operations Pty Ltd (Localsearch) after it published an unlisted ‘silent’ number in one of its phone directories.

Localsearch is authorised by the ACMA to use information from the Integrated Public Number Database (IPND) to publish its directories. The IPND is a secure database of phone numbers and associated information used by emergency services, researchers for certain public health, electoral and public policy research, as well as publication of phone directories.

An ACMA investigation found Localsearch breached the conditions of its use of the IPND under the Telecommunications Integrated Public Number Database Scheme 2017.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said companies must take appropriate care and ensure that they have robust processes to meet all their obligations under the IPND access rules.

“ACMA takes compliance with IPND access obligations very seriously, especially where a consumer’s privacy is impacted.

“Only listed numbers should appear in a phone number directory,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

This is the first time the ACMA has handed down a formal warning over a breach of the IPND Scheme.

As well as publishing the unlisted number, Localsearch failed to destroy the number and associated data within 10 business days of being notified it had changed from listed to unlisted, notify the ACMA, or give the affected consumer information about referring the matter to the Information Commissioner. In addition, while it did in time resolve the matter with the affected individual, it took longer than it should have.

The ACMA issued Localsearch a formal warning as this has been Localsearch’s only breach of its authorisation in 11 years, and it resolved the matter to the affected individual’s satisfaction.

MR 21/2020

For more information, please contact ACMA Media on 0438 375 776 or media@acma.gov.au.

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