Feeds

FreeServe passes confidential customer info to PC World

ISP helps sister company peddle hardware to its subscribers

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Staff working on the Dixons FreeServe technical support line have been passing on confidential customer information to their associate company PC World, in breach of the ISP's own strict policy on data protection. Customers of the UK's most popular ISP, who have been advised that they have hardware problems after phoning FreeServe's 50p-a minute technical support line, have been contacted by PC World staff offering a fix, even though this flies in the face of section 5.1 of FreeServe's terms and conditions. Section 5.1 reads: "We will comply with the relevant English Data Protection laws, so normally any personal details to be provided to us will not be disclosed to third parties without your consent." A representative of FreeServe admitted that there had been such a breach and that the company had started an investigation. "It is not FreeServe policy [to pass on confidential customer information to third parties]," she said. "FreeServe and PC World do have a number of shared staff [manning the technical support line] and this may be at the root of the problem," she said in defence of the allegations. "We are currently investigating this." Mark Danby, head of FreeServe, was unavailable for comment. News that FreeServe was using confidential information to try and generate sales for PC World emerged yesterday when the Daily Telegraph published a letter by a G.Pendleton who complained of a problem using FreeServe email. "I contacted FreeServe and it stated that I had a corrupt hard disk drive and needed a new one; it even got PC World to phone and offer me a new one." The story was corroborated by a Register reader, Neil Weiss, this morning who said he received a phone call from PC World less than a week after chatting to someone on the FreeServe helpdesk and telling them he was just about to buy some computer peripherals. "Dixons is just using FreeServe as a database for PC World," said Weiss, who was angry that the ISP had passed on his personal details without his consent. "They're using it as a vehicle to sell Dixons products," he said. A representative of the Data Protection Registrar declined to comment on the issue because, to the best of her knowledge, no official complaint had been made. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.