Comcast To Pay $33 Million In Privacy Breach Settlement

Comcast accidentally published the names and phone numbers of around 75,000 people between 2010 and 2012. Their addresses were also published, even though they paid Comcast to keep their information private, according to the Los Angeles Times. As a result of the leak, Comcast has settled with authorities in California, and the company has agreed to pay $33 million.

State agencies will see $25 million, and each Comcast customer that was affected will receive $100. Furthermore, around $430,000 more will go to about 200 judges, as well as law enforcement officers and domestic abuse victims who said they faced safety concerns as a result of what Comcast did.

Kamala Harris, the California Attorney General, described the leak as a troubling breach of privacy. Harris released a statement in regard to the settlement with Comcast, and she said that violations of consumers’ privacy will result in significant penalties.

According to Business Insider, Harris said that the settlement not only provides meaningful relief to those who were affected by the leak, but it also brings more transparency to Comcast’s privacy practices.

The cable company will work on improving its policies in regard to how it handles customer complaints. Comcast will also work on placing greater restrictions on how customers’ personal information can be used by vendors.

Current Comcast customers will receive their settlement in the form of a bill credit. Past Comcast customers will have their payments mailed to their last known address, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The settlement was applauded by Comcast. Comcast also apologized to its customers that were affected by the breach. According to CNN, Comcast said that it immediately told its customers about what had happened when the leak occurred, and Comcast refunded customers for the services they paid for.

A spokesperson for Comcast said that the matter was operationally resolved just about three years ago. The spokesperson added that it has always been Comcast’s goal to find a solution that worked for all of the parties involved and for its customers who were affected by the error.

Customers paid Comcast as much as $1.50 per month to keep their info private. This was in addition to what they were paying Comcast for internet-based phone service. When a system upgrade occurred, it failed to mark listings data of those customers, and that is when the breach happened.

As a result of the breach, customer data was published in phone books and published online after a listings data licensing company purchased the data.

[Image by Cindy Ord/Getty Images]