Feeds

T-Mobile coughs to data theft

But can't understand all the fuss

3 Big data security analytics techniques

T-Mobile has admitted it was the operator whose staff sold customer data to competitors, but can't understand why the Information Commissioner decided to share the information.

Staff at the network operator had developed a sideline selling customer records to brokers who then called up the customers to offer alternative contracts.

T-Mobile had been told not to mention the case to anyone as there were prosecutions pending, so the operator was pretty surprised when the Information Commissioner decided to spill the beans yesterday to help his political case for harsher sentences for data breaches.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is trying to whip up support for custodial sentences for those convicted of stealing data, but public sympathy for celebrities who had their phone records stolen is minimal. The T-Mobile case, on the other hand, demonstrates why normal people should care too, which is why the details came out in the Commissioner's response to the Government consultation about the introduction of prison sentences.

T-Mobile seemingly couldn't have handled the case better. The operator received complaints that customers were getting curiously well-informed cold calls, so T-Mobile investigated - as operators are surprisingly willing to do. It took its evidence to the ICO, who investigated further and told the operator to say nothing to anybody until the case was complete.

But that restriction didn't apply to the ICO, who published the details to support its argument. The ICO didn't name the operator, but it didn't take long to get denials out of all the other operators, forcing T-Mobile to admit it was them, despite promising the ICO they wouldn't say anything.

As for the data stolen, it mainly consisted of customer details and contract end dates - annoying to have public but not exactly state secrets. Customer details are in the phone book, and most people will tell you their contract renewal date if you call them up and ask (as cold callers are wont to do).

Whether one approves of custodial sentences for nicking data, or not, it's clear that the ICO has manipulated this case into a cause celebre with impact far beyond its real importance. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
EE & Vodafone will let you BONK on the TUBE – with Boris' blessing
Transport for London: You can pay, but don't touch
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
Google eyes business service in latest Fiber trials
Lucky Kansas City buggers to host yet another pilot program
Huawei exec: 'Word of mouth' will beat Apple and Samsung in Europe
World Mobile Telephone Factory No.3 won't fling the big bucks around just yet
Brazilian president signs internet civil rights law
Marco Civil bill enshines 'net neutrality', 'privacy' as law
DeSENSORtised: Why the 'Internet of Things' will FAIL without IPv6
What's stopping a tinyputer invasion? An IP address shortage, says Cisco
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.