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The Information Commissioner is being asked to rule on whether Lloyds TSB's plans to transfer work to India complies with data protection laws.

An un-named customer of the bank is being backed by Lloyds TSB Group Union (LTU), which represents over 45,000 of the bank's staff, to make the challenge.

According to European legislation, sensitive personal data can only be transferred outside of the European Economic Area with the express consent of customers.

The case against Lloyds TSB is that India does not have the same standards of data protection as are legally required by the Data Protection Act 1998 and that the bank has not gained the permission of customers to shunt their data overseas.

Those backing the challenge cite a report earlier this year which found that criminals are trying to bribe Indian call centre workers with a year's wages to get access to customer credit card details.

Said Steve Tatlow, Assistant General Secretary at the LTU: "This is an important case. If successful, it could force Lloyds TSB to drop its offshoring policy for fear of losing many customers. Concerns over data protection are yet another reason why Lloyds TSB should now listen to its customers and commit itself to the UK."

A spokesman for the bank said that security was of "utmost importance".

"We are confident that we comply with the Data Protection Act and our customers can be reassured that their personal information is as protected in India as it would be in the UK." ®

Related stories

Siemens faces outsource protest strike
Lloyds mulls offshoring deal with IBM
Indian call centres pose security risk
UK small.biz rejects outsourcing
IBM offshores 500 UK jobs to India

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