Deutsche Telekom leaks more customer data

Scandal-plagued Deutsche Telekom has had another data disaster. Sensitive customer information, including bank details and birth dates, has been leaked on the black market for the second time in as many months, according to this week’s edition of Stern magazine.

Deutsche Telekom leaks more customer data
Photo: DPA

Dubious address dealers and call centres have somehow gained access to names, addresses, contract details and bank information of about 1,000 thousand Telekom landline customers, the magazine reported on Wednesday.

Some customers have complained of illegal withdrawals from their bank accounts.

The magazine came into possession of some of these lists and showed them to company officials, who have said they don’t know the source of the leak and want to file a report with authorities. Meanwhile the company said Stern’s lists aren’t original.

“First off, the format isn’t right and some the bank and birth date details are different to our data sets,” head of security Volker Wagner told the magazine, suggesting that the lists have been put together from different sources.

Stern reported that Deutsche Telekom may have lost the most recent set of data in early 2007, when it farmed out work to outside firms in a push to gain new customers for its internet service. The other companies were provided with customer lists for marketing purposes.

It’s not the first time Deutsche Telekom has been mired in a scandal regarding data protection. Last month the telecommunication firm admitted to losing the personal data belonging to its 17 million customers. The theft, which had only just been revealed, took place back in early 2006, and involved telephone numbers, dates of birth, addresses and email addresses.

Later that month further security lapses at Deutsche Telekom were exposed by Der Spiegel magazine, which reported that the data of more than 30 million mobile phone customers could be accessed and manipulated via the internet.

The company is also in the midst of a probe after revelations that it hired an outside firm to track hundreds of thousands of phone calls by senior executives and journalists to identify the sources of press leaks.


Norway to fine Grindr millions for illegal data sharing

Smartphone dating app Grindr faces a record 100-million-kroner (9.6-million-euro) fine in Norway for illegally sharing user data with third parties, the Norwegian Data Protection Authority said on Tuesday.

Norway to fine Grindr millions for illegal data sharing
File photo: AFP

Grindr, which claims to be “the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people”, is accused of sharing its users’ GPS coordinates, user profile data and the fact that the user is on Grindr, for marketing purposes.

“Our preliminary conclusion is that Grindr has shared user data to a number of third parties without legal basis,” Data Protection Authority director general Bjørn Erik Thon said in a statement.

According to the authority, this violates the European Union’s GDPR, or data protection rules, on valid consent that were introduced in May 2018.

The authority therefore decided to notify Grindr that it will be fined around 10 percent of its global turnover, or about $10 million, an unprecedented fine in the Nordic country.

The Norwegian Consumer Council, which had filed the initial legal complaint against Grindr, hailed the announcement as a “historic victory for privacy.”

Grindr has until February 15th to challenge the decision.

The wrongdoing it is accused of took place before April 2020, when the app changed its user consent terms.

In January 2020, the Norwegian Consumer Council filed legal complaints against Grindr and five other apps, including Twitter-controlled MoPub, for violating personal data protection rules.

The other complaints are still being examined, the Data Protection Authority said.

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