Feeds

Staff at UK mobile co sold customer records

Info Commissioner recommends jail for miscreants

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Updated Staff at an unnamed mobile operator have been selling customer details to the competition, and the Information Commissioner reckons that it will take a spell in chokey to stop the leaks.

According to the BBC, a T-Mobile spokesman has confirmed that T-Mobile is the company in question. The spokesman tells the BBC that the company alerted the Information Commission, saying that the data was sold "without our knowledge."

Customers numbering "many thousands" have had their details - including contract-renewal dates - lifted by staff working at the operator in question and sold to agents, who then cold-call the customers to offer alternative contracts. But the Information Commissioner complains that fining the ne'er-do-wells isn't enough, and suggests that locking them away is the only language they'll understand.

The details come as part of the Commissioner's ongoing campaign in favour of government proposals to introduce a prison term for those in breach of the Data Protection Act. This demonstrates that it's not just banks and doctors who have commercially-valuable information that can be stolen by individuals employed by the company.

In this case, it was enough information for a broker to call up just before a contract expires and offer an alternative, for which the brokers have apparently paid "substantial amounts of money". So much money, according to the Commissioner, that the threat of a fine is simply ineffective:

"The existing paltry fines... are simply not enough to deter people from engaging in this lucrative criminal activity. The threat of jail, not fines, will prove a stronger deterrent."

Given the number of cold calls received by every mobile phone user in the UK it would be tempting to think the information wasn't that valuable - but we don't know exactly what other information could have been exposed. Plus there is also an obvious principle at stake.

Strengthening Section 55 of the Data Protection Act could make it riskier for journalists to find information, though apparently we'll get a "public interest" defence to go with the new custodial sentences. ®

Updated: This story has been updated to include mention of the BBC's story on the matter.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.