Australian Economy

Most AFR readers critical of CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin’s handling of data breach

Other readers believed that while Europe and the United States might be heading for recession, Australia could avoid the same fate.

“I think Australia is in better shape than other countries and may well escape a recession,” another reader said.

As Optus deals with the public relations disaster from its data breach last week – which resulted in the leaking of personal details such as driver licences and passport numbers of 9.8 million customers – Financial Review readers were scathing in their assessment of Ms Bayer Rosmarin and the telco’s board.

Some 21 per cent of readers said the Optus boss had handled the data breach “very badly”, while 30 per cent said she had handled it “badly”.

Only 12 per cent said she had handled it “well”.

“The CEO clearly should resign. She has misrepresented the facts of the situation and been too slow to act,” one reader commented.

“But she is not alone. The board has either been complicit in this, or has been indifferent. It appears that Optus’ board and management have not taken cybersecurity sufficiently seriously and have underinvested.”

Another reader said Optus needed to be more open with the government and customers about the situation.

“Optus should spend less time arguing with government and more time telling their customers how they are affected individually and what specific support will be provided,” a reader said.

“As one of their customers, I’m uncertain on what action I need to take and how this will be compensated.”

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil has flagged a toughening of financial penalties for companies responsible for data breaches.

Readers agreed, with 79 per cent saying the current maximum $2 million penalty should be increased.

But others warned a higher fine may make it harder for the telco to properly compensate its customers.

“The fine for Optus is not the issue. A higher fine will only make it harder for it to pay proper compensation to its customers, which should be the main focus,” one reader said.

The latest survey of Financial Review readers also found 44 per cent believe public hearings for the new National Anti-Corruption Commission should be the norm.

The survey also found that 42 per cent of readers wanted any windfall from this month’s federal budget to be used for debt reduction.

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