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PRIVACY

Telia leaks customers’ private phone logs

Swedish telecom firm Telia has come under fire after the company published customers' private information, leaked their bills online, and revealed lists of SMS and phone call recipients.

Telia leaks customers' private phone logs

Several customers of Telia, the Swedish subsidiary of Swedish-Finnish telecom company TeliaSonera, learned this week that their information had been leaked for several months and was still available on Google cached documents. One of those affected was 28-year-old Madelene Dalebrand Wachler from Hudiksvall in eastern Sweden.

“[Swedish tabloid] Aftonbladet rang me and explained that my billing statements were viewable online… you could come in directly and see it all – all the calls I’d made and all the people to whom I had sent an SMS,” she told The Local.

The information came with names, addresses, telephone numbers and even lengths of the phone calls.

“It’s terrible. Some of the people I had contacted had private and unpublished numbers, and all of this has been leaked by Telia,” she added.

Wachler has since contacted authorities at Sweden’s Data Inspectorate (Datainspektionen) who have promised to launch an investigation into the matter.

“I’m also looking into getting compensation from Telia. Information shouldn’t be available like this, it’s horrible and it’s quite scary actually. And it makes it harder to trust all these big companies,” she said.

Telia spokesman Hans G. Larsson was shocked to learn of the leaks, confirming that only a few people were affected.

“This in unacceptable, of course, and it’s something we will be looking into. We do offer our customers confidentiality and this involves the data protection act,” he told Aftonbladet.

He explained that the system had been shuttered later on Monday night, which meant no customers were able to see their own statements online at the time.

“If you need to pay a bill over the coming days, you can log into My Pages [Mina sidor] on Telia to see the statements,” Larsson told the TT news agency.

“Thank goodness, this seems to have been very limited. Nothing points to it being a large group of customers being affected, but it’s bad enough already,” Larsson told the TT news agency.

Oliver Gee

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INTERNET

Swedes least worried about internet snooping

Swedes are less worried about government, police and corporations snooping on them over the internet than any of the other nationalities surveyed by the privacy company F-Secure.

Swedes least worried about internet snooping
Swedes have historically been trusting of their governments. Photo: Lena Granefelt/Image Bank Sweden
According to the survey, Only 25 percent of Swedes surveyed said they had changed their behaviour on the internet as a result of worries over data privacy. 
 
This compared to 55 percent of respondents from the US, 48 percent from Germany, 47 percent from France and 43 percent from the UK. 
 
“We have good privacy legislation in Sweden and people in Sweden probably think these privacy rules protect internet privacy as well, but this is a misconception,” Mikael Albrecht, a security expert with F-Secure, the company which commissioned the survey told The Local. 
 
Swedes relaxed approach to privacy was seen in their responses to other questions. Only 31 percent of respondents from Sweden said that they knew where their personal data was stored online, compared with an average in the survey of 49 percent. 
 
And only 46 percent of Swedish respondents said that they were worried about new Internet-connected devices leading to privacy violations, compared with the survey's average of 69 percent. 
 
“Swedes perceive their country as safe and stable, especially when compared to countries like UK, USA and France, which have increased network surveillance aggressively,” Albrecht said in the press release.
 
“But while Sweden and many of the Nordic countries do enjoy relatively secure environments, this shouldn't translate into becoming overconfident that their personal data will stay private while being exchanged online.”
 
 
 
The F-Secure Consumer Values Study 2015 consisted of an online survey of 8,800 respondents from 11 countries, with 800 respondents in each of the US, UK, France, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Italy, Sweden, and India respectively. 
 
The study was designed together with Informed Intuitions, and the data was collected by Toluna Analytics.