Philadelphia based cable operator Comcast has agreed to pay $33 million and overhaul its internal operations for accidentally publishing the names, phone numbers and addresses of 75,000 people who paid to keep the information private via unlisted internet protocol and VoIP telephone services.
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. Under the agreement made with Californian authorities in a case heard inAlameda superior Court, of the total, $25 million will go to state agencies. $8 million has been ring fenced for those customers affected and each customer is likely to receive $100 compensation for the leak of their data. About $432,000 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 State Attorney General Kamala Harris called the leak a "troubling breach of privacy." She believes the settlement will result in greater transparency on Comcast’s privacy practices. The settlement should provide monetary relief to individuals who remain concerned about the disclosure of their personal information. The payment is to be made to the Californian Department of Justice and the California Public Utilities Commission. Comcast Corp has issued a formal apology. this is not the first time Comcast has been in trouble, in 2013, Comcast refunded about $2.5 million to customers, covering the period their information was inadvertently made public