Thursday, June 23, 2005

Undercover UK reporter buys personal information from Indian call centre

An undercover reporter, working for the Sun, managed to buy extremely sensitive personal information from an Indian call centre employee. The story is all over the media and the police are investigating.

Looking into my crystal ball, I think this story will have significant repurcussions, at least in the United Kingdom. I am sure that there are corruptible employees all over the world, but this story has additional interest because of the increasing concern about offshoring personal information processing.

Companies are increasingly looking closer to home for places to economically outsource this sort of data processing, particularly places with low costs and robust privacy law enforcement. Nova Scotia has become a centre of oursourcing and companies are moving operations from India to Nova Scotia.

But back to the original story. From the Sun:

The Sun Online - News: Your life for sale:

"Harvey, who paid a total of 5,000 US dollars (£2,750) for the information and was asked for another £275 to be sent later, was told details usually cost £4.25 but he was getting a special deal.

Kkaran Bahree, who said he got the details from a network of call centre workers in Delhi, also boasted that he could get up to 2,000 account details a month.

The information received included account holders’ addresses, secret passwords, credit card details, passports and driving licence information.

In some cases there were also the issue and expiry dates of bank cards, as well as the three digit security number from the back of the card.

A spokeswoman for the City of London Police said: "All the financial institutions identified have been fully informed of the situation.

"An investigation is now under way. Therefore it would be inappropriate for us to provide further details at this stage."

The spokeswoman said The Sun handed police the names of banks that might have been compromised following an investigation into the security of financial information held at foreign call centres.

"At this stage we are not fully aware of the breadth of what we are going to be investigating."

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