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KCOM caught in yet ANOTHER customer privacy snafu

Email addresses bared to world+dog by gaffe-prone ISP

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Hull-based telco KCOM has coughed to another privacy clanger - this time admitting to wrongly sharing some of its customers' email addresses with other subscribers.

But it's unclear whether the ISP has turned itself into the Information Commissioner's Office to report the latest data protection cockup.

The Register has asked the watchdog if it is aware of the issue, but the ICO was yet to respond at time of writing.

KCOM wrote to an unknown number of its customers last month, telling them that their email addresses had been mistakenly sent to other subscribers, according to local rag the Hull Daily Mail.

The newspaper quoted an email sent to KCOM customer Sarah Firth. It said:

Dear customer. We're sorry. On Wednesday, February 5, 2014, we sent an email to another KC customer that contained your email address by mistake.

We have let this customer know this happened and have asked them to delete this email right away.

We would like to reassure you that no other information about your KC accounts, or personal details, were included in the email.

However, KCOM has allegedly ignored Firth's request to confirm whether it had reported its latest data protection gaffe to the appropriate authorities.

The company was yet to respond to our request for comment at time of writing, too. It told the Mail that "some customers' email addresses were incorrectly included in other customers' messages."

KCOM apologised and said "additional checks [were] in place to avoid this happening again."

But some might be surprised by that statement, given that a KCOM engineer had, it was claimed to El Reg, unwittingly exposed a customer spreadsheet containing the telephone numbers, user IDs and unencrypted passwords of all its subscribers back in January.

Not long after that, we reported on another privacy howler, this time involving KCOM's Exeter-based ISP Eclipse Internet, which foolishly displayed passwords in plain text to users via a webpage.

The latest data cockup is hardly an isolated incident, then. Perhaps the ICO needs to take a closer look. ®

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