Feeds

BT suspends SMS trial amid data protection fears

Admits service 'might be a concern'

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

BT is to pull the plug on a new SMS service amid fears it might breach data protection laws.

The service - BT SMS Self Service - lets punters text BT to see when their phone bill was last paid or to find progress on a fault. BT began trialling the service last month as part of a new way for punters to stay in touch.

Snag is, not only does the text service enable BT customers to find out about their own phone lines, it can let them snoop on the details of others. Indeed, when El Reg had a go we were able to find details of a number of phone lines, although it wouldn't let us sneak at peek at data on BT's press office number.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which oversees data protection legislation in the UK, is sufficiently concerned by BT's service that it wants assurances "appropriate data protection safeguards are in place".

A spokesman for the ICO told us: "We understand that this service is currently being trialled by BT. We can understand that people may be concerned if, for instance, by using this service someone could discover whether someone's bill had been paid or not. We will be contacting BT to discuss this new service with them to assure ourselves that appropriate data protection safeguards are in place."

Following concerns raised by the ICO, BT has decided to temporarily halt part of the service, even though the telco insists the texts do not indicate whether that payment was late or how much was paid.

Punters will stll be able to use the service if they enter their account number as well as their phone number.

"We realise that this might be a concern to some customers. We have taken the decision to suspend the current trial service while we consider what action we need to take to further safeguard customers' data," a spokesman told us. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?