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100,000 Optus customers launch class action over 2022 data breach

Law firm Slater & Gordon has today (21 April) announced a class action against Optus on behalf of 100,000 customers impacted by last year’s data breach.

user icon David Hollingworth
Fri, 21 Apr 2023
100,000 Optus customers launch class action over 2022 data breach
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The class action covers a range of entities in the Optus Group, including Singtel, Optus Mobile, Optus Internet, and others. The suit claims that Optus breached its contract with its customers, breached the Privacy Act 1988, Australian consumer law, and the company’s duty of care to its customers.

The suit is being led by two anonymous applicants, a government employee and a school teacher, and anyone who feels that they have been affected by the breach may register to join the class action.

“The type of information made accessible put affected customers at a higher risk of being scammed and having their identities stolen, and Optus should have had adequate measures in place to prevent that,” said Ben Hardwick, class actions group leader at Slater & Gordon, in a statement.

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“Concerningly, the data breach has also potentially jeopardised the safety of a large number of particularly vulnerable groups of Optus customers, such as victims of domestic violence, stalking and other crimes, as well as those working in frontline occupations, including the defence force and policing.”

The data breach was discovered on 21 September 2022, and Optus informed its customers the next day. Though Optus was at first unsure of the number of current and past customers affected, the final number added up to 10 million sets of personal data, including names and addresses, passport and driver’s licence details, and Medicare numbers.

Over 10,000 sets of data are known to have been publicly exposed, though, to date, no customers have fallen victim to any further fraud or crimes.

The lead applicant has also spoken out on the impact of the data breach.

“Not knowing what still might happen as a result of having my information accessed and by whom haunts me,” they said.

“It feels like only a matter of time before I get scammed or defrauded, which is a constant worry that I didn’t have before I was let down by Optus.”

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.

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