LOS ANGELES (CBS13/AP) – Cable operator Comcast has settled with California authorities and agreed to pay $33 million for accidentally publishing the names, phone numbers and addresses of about 75,000 people who paid to keep the information private.
A 2012 Call Kurtis investigation revealed Comcast had published a Rio Linda viewer’s phone number, despite her paying $1.50 a month to keep it private.
CALL KURTIS: They Published My Unlisted Phone Number
At the time, the company called it a “highly unusual case.”
Two and a half years later, Comcast admitted to listing 74,000 unlisted phone numbers by mistake.
Comcast claimed it first uncovered the issue of unlisted numbers getting listed eight months after CBS13’s 2012 story. They then reported the problem to the California Public Utilities Commission three months later.
CALL KURTIS INVESTIGATES: Comcast Published 74,000 Unlisted Phone Numbers
Of the total, $25 million will go to state agencies. Each customer affected will receive $100.
About $432,000 more will go to about 200 law enforcement officers, judges and domestic abuse victims who said they faced safety concerns because of the leak, which occurred from 2010 to 2012.
California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris called the leak a “troubling breach of privacy.”
“Violations of consumers’ privacy will result in significant penalties,” she said Thursday in a statement announcing the settlement.
Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp. apologized and applauded the settlement.
The breach occurred when a system upgrade failed to mark listings data of customers who paid as much as $1.50 a month to keep their information private on top of what they paid Comcast for Internet-based phone service.
The data was published online and in phone books after it was sold through a listings data licensing company. In 2013, Comcast refunded about $2.5 million to customers, covering the period their information was inadvertently made public.