Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/06/pipex_data_expecting_returns/

Pipex retains personal data for escapees' own good

ISP expecting ex-customers to come back

By Christopher Williams

Posted in Broadband, 6th June 2007 11:18 GMT

Pipex says it retains departed customers' bank details in case they ever change their minds.

Yesterday, we reported on how a new customer account website had revealed that the ISP does not delete personal information when users cancel their contract.

According to Reg readers who are former Pipex customers, the data is still available well over a year after they quit the service.

In response to our questions on why it had not deleted information about ex-customers, Pipex sent us this statement:

We are not in a position to discuss individual cases due to data protection, but can assure all customers that data is held securely and not used for any purposes other than being available should they wish to return to us.

Pipex may not be the only ISP to operate such a "keep the home fires burning" data policy.

However, the Data Protection Act prohibits data retention for any longer than necessary as demanded by the reason it was originally recorded. Which makes Pipex's response seem rather flimsy, although the law is open to interpretation. Details of how to complain to the Information Commissioner, the government watchdog which regulates data retention, are here.

The struggling ISP, which is undergoing a wide-ranging strategy review by external consultants, and has been the subject of repeated sell-off rumours this year, currently has about 570,000 broadband subscribers. ®