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Case study: disclosure of a silent number in an online directory

08 May 2015



Alex became aware of the issue when he logged into his telephone account online and noticed that an automatic task for a directory listing had been completed. He told us that for personal safety reasons, he does not want his name, address or contact details to be published online or in print.

What we did 

Due to the seriousness of the possible privacy issue, the TIO raised a systemic investigation with Alex’s provider. 

The provider told us the issue was caused by migration of its customers’ data to a new system. Alex had signed up for a voice service with another provider before his current provider acquired the earlier provider’s business. The previous provider had not correctly recorded Alex’s desire for a silent number. The error was then transferred to the current provider’s system during the migration of its customers’ data. 

Alex’s current provider reviewed a large sample of its customer base to confirm this issue was isolated. It reviewed all its customers that had requested a silent number prior to the data migration. 

Additionally, the provider confirmed that new customers are not published in directories unless specifically requested. 


The TIO is satisfied that the provider has reviewed its data migration procedures and confirmed other customers are not affected by the issue. The provider removed Alex’s details from the online directory. Alex was happy with this resolution and we closed the case. 

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