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Softbank punters run online protest auctions

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Two customers angry at the derisory amount Softbank offered in compensation for a serious breach in customer security are staging online protest auctions on a Yahoo! Japan site. Personal details are up for grabs.

Softbank - which together with Yahoo! operates "Yahoo! BB" in Japan - offered a miserly 500 Yen (£2.50) certificate to placate irate punters whose personal information might have been leaked to extortionists.

Four people have been arrested as part of ongoing police investigations into the leak, discovered last month. Yahoo! BB has tightened up its internal security procedures and senior Softbank execs in Japan have promised to take a 50 per cent pay cut in response to widespread local criticism of the company.

Customer credit card details were not compromised, but everything else on up to 4.52 million Yahoo! BB customers was up for grabs, according to English language paper the Daily Yomiuri.

The highly unimpressed protestors are inviting bids for their names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and Yahoo! user IDs. One has attracted a top offer of 1.36 million Yen (£6,740).

The seller, nicknamed "ooofunooo", readily admits the data on offer is second-hand - it has already been leaked by Softbank - but says that since it is in digital form, it should still be in good condition.

ooofunooo said that he expected the auction winner to pay only listings fees, not the closing bid price.

A second protest auction has reached a bid of 487,444 Yen with six days left to run.

Softbank and Yahoo! Japan both declined to talk to local reporters about the protest auctions. ®

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