Vodafone IT system flaw leads to breach of mobile ID rules

ACMA investigation finds breach of customer identity verification rules

Changes to a Vodafone IT system led to the telco failing to verify the identity of more than 1000 customers when activating their prepaid mobile services.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) today revealed the outcome of its investigation into the breach of the Telecommunications (Service Provider – Identity Checks for Prepaid Mobile Carriage Services) Determination 2017, which require telecommunications providers to verify the identity of mobile customers.

The breaches took place between 6 January 2015 and 6 January 2016, the ACMA said, following changes to Vodafone IT systems. The telco’s customers were able to select an option on the Vodafone website indicating that they had verified their identity in store without this being checked.

The undertaking states that Vodafone accepts that there were “material weaknesses” in its compliance control framework that led to breaches of the determination.

The 24-month undertaking outlines Vodafone’s commitment to conducting a risk assessment prior to making further changes to its prepaid mobile service identity verification systems.

The telco will conduct six-monthly audits of its prepaid ID records as well as carry out online training for employees and contractors.

“During an upgrade to our prepaid customer activation systems over a period in 2015-2016, the system allowed a small number of customers to activate their Vodafone pre-paid services online without proper ID verification,” a spokesperson for the telco said.

“Vodafone has since taken steps to confirm the identity of those customers or cancel services in cases where this verification wasn’t possible, and resolve the underlying issue.”

“We can assure our customers that our systems and processes are robust, and we are continually working to ensure we act in accordance with the law,” the Vodafone spokesperson added.

“We have been working closely with the ACMA to satisfy them of our ongoing compliance, and are committed to the terms of the undertaking.” 

Verifying the identity of prepaid mobile customers helps law enforcement and national security agencies obtain accurate information about the identity of customers for the purposes of their investigations,” ACMA acting chair, James Cameron, said in a statement.

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