Telstra has been accused of tracking the websites its customers visit.
Telstra has been accused of tracking the websites its customers visit using the Next G network, and sending the information to a company in the United States of America.
Although nobody from Telstra was available for an interview with the ABC this morning, in a statement Telstra did admit that it had been sending information overseas. Telstra has said that it is building the database for a new censorship product, which will allow parents to block their children from visiting certain websites.
Although the new product will be opt-in, the current data collection is not. If you are with Telstra and are using the Next G network, then your information will continue to be sent to the USA.
Mark Newton, the customer who discovered that this information is being collected was, until recently, one of the longest serving technical engineers at Australian internet company Internode. He is concerned about the breach of privacy this poses, as privacy laws in the USA are different to those in Australia. He says that privacy protection in the USA is minimal, and that there are almost no controls governing what can be done with your data once it leaves Australia.
Telstra sending customer information overseas is bad enough. But for the massive telco to do it without telling anyone? That’s just plain lying by omission. It’s the schoolyard mentality that says “I know I’ve done wrong, but if nobody finds out then I can’t get in trouble”.
Telstra has much wider reaching coverage than any other phone company in Australia. This means that many people, particularly those living in rural areas, have no choice but to use Telstra as their carrier for mobile services. So, do you give up your privacy or the use of your mobile phone?
It has been suggested that, by collecting this information, Telstra would be able to build a profile of each of its individual customers based on the websites they visit. It feels far too ‘Big Brother’ to me, and I know that I will be keeping my distance from Telstra until this whole mess is sorted out.
In the meantime, if you feel uncomfortable about Telstra tracking your Next G internet usage and sending it overseas, you may wish to write to Telstra to express your concerns, or to write to the Privacy Commissioner asking them to look into the issue on your behalf. A few thousand letters are much harder to overlook than a few clogged up complaint hotlines.
What do you think? Is Telstra well within its rights to send your information overseas, or is this a violation of your privacy? Should you have been asked first? Or even told that it was happening? And do you think that programs such as these should be entered into by choice?
Read more about this story from ABC News.
Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free
- Receive our daily enewsletter
- Enter competitions
- Comment on articles