Exclusive BT-owned Plusnet faces a possible data breach investigation by Britain's Information Commissioner's Office, after complaints from the ISP's customers about their email accounts being swamped by spam were dismissed.
As The Register reported last week, an unknown number of subscribers expressed concern that their email accounts had been compromised by spammers.
However, Sheffield-based Plusnet rebuffed the claims and declined to turn itself into the ICO, even just to flag up its customers' concerns.
But the watchdog has now pricked up its ears. A spokesman at the ICO told El Reg:
We are aware of the concerns that have been raised about a potential data breach at Plusnet and are currently making enquiries to establish the full details.
Over on a Plusnet forum thread, which was created after subscribers started receiving spam in the middle of November, folk have continued to fume at the telco's apparent indifference to their complaints by piling in with uncorroborated claims about what went wrong.
A post from someone with the handle 'JennyTell' said:
Not gonna lie, very annoyed that my private PlusNet only email I've been using for 3+ years has over the last few weeks started to receive spam email.
But I'm mainly [annoyed] that PlusNet seem to be denying it. I consider it an insult on the collective intelligence of everyone else who has only ever given PlusNet their own mailbox to find all sorts of weird and whimsical excuses to explain how the database has not been breached, as opposed to an explanation of how it clearly was. Denial is a river in Egypt folks.
While another customer carrying the handle 'purleigh' wondered what might be on Plusnet's Christmas party menu:
Presumably, the catering would be done by an unnamed third party, who specialise in SPAM, and ignore British food hygiene regulations by bulk sending their SPAM products from the other side of the planet to anyone and everyone on their stolen client list.
The office of Plusnet's boss Andy Barker promised this morning to provide El Reg with a statement as soon as possible. The ISP failed to respond to our questions on 5 December.
But now that the ICO has waded in, Plusnet appeared more willing to talk today. Funny that. ®