Comcast Agrees to Pay $33M in California Privacy Breach

LOS ANGELES (AP) -

Cable operator Comcast has settled with California authorities and agreed to pay $33 million for accidentally publishing the names, phone numbers and addresses of about 75,000 people who paid to keep the information private.

Of the total, $25 million will go to state agencies. Each customer affected will receive $100.

About $432,000 more will go to about 200 law-enforcement officers, judges and domestic-abuse victims who said they faced safety concerns because of the leak, which occurred from 2010 to 2012.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris called the leak a “troubling breach of privacy.”

“Violations of consumers’ privacy will result in significant penalties,” she said in a statement announcing the settlement.

Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp. apologized and applauded the settlement.

The breach occurred when a system upgrade failed to mark listings data of customers who paid as much as $1.50 a month to keep their information private on top of what they paid Comcast for internet-based phone service.

The data was published online and in phone books after it was sold through a listings data licensing company. In 2013, Comcast refunded about $2.5 million to customers, covering the period their information was inadvertently made public.