India Outsourcing: Source of Easy Data Breaches?

TV sting operation raises concern among India's outsourcing companies.

(New Delhi) An undercover operation by Britain's Channel 4 exposing how customer data from Indian call centers could be illegally sold has raised concerns among outsourcing companies, with a trade group demanding Friday the television company share details to help investigate the matter.

The program, which aired in Britain, showed a man from Calcutta boasting about his contacts in call centers across the country and offering to sell stolen credit card data from tens of thousands of British customers.

The National Association of Software Services Companies, or NASSCOM, said Channel 4 had not responded to written requests for help tracking down the people shown.

In a statement Friday, NASSCOM also said it had doubts whether the data sold to the television station were real and could harm customers.

Police have filed a case against the man shown on the program, but NASSCOM said he had fled his home with his family.

Timely cooperation by Channel 4 "would have enabled prompt action against the alleged criminals," the statement said.

"We have no further update from them on their intent to share the details of persons shown in the program who have 'sold' the data to Channel 4," the statement quoted NASSCOM Chairman Kiran Karnik as saying. "However, we will pursue it further to ensure that criminals, if any, are rightly taken to the concerned authorities."

But Channel 4 said it disagreed with NASSCOM.

"As a responsible broadcaster, our role is to bring our findings to the public. It is not the role of broadcasters or journalists to act as agents of the police or any other authority," the television station said in a statement.

Many U.S. and European companies have shifted their call centers to India to cut costs. Although there have been several cases of data theft, NASSCOM said such cases are not unique to India and that outsourcing companies in India adhere to high security standards.

"We take any alleged breach of security extremely seriously," Karnik said.

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Reader Comments:

Fri, Oct 13, 2006 Dr. John Anonymous

All those pundits of outsourcing, repeat after me, "Duh!!!".

You run trillions of dollars of outsourced financials through one of the poorest nations on earth, being handled by low paid citizens of that nation, you're really a moron if you think it isn't going to happen.

Now, everyone that didn't say, "Duh!!!", say, "Wake up!!!".

Fri, Oct 13, 2006 Christopher Bell Glossop U.K.

As I recall remarking at the time that outsourcing became fashionable: the criminals must be howling in glee. Now instead of having to spend $50,000 to corrupt someone in the US or UK they need only spend $1,000! Where is the joined up thinking? Another example of corporate greed sponsoring criminality.

Thu, Oct 12, 2006 Jobless Man Anonymous

There is no free lunch.

Wed, Oct 11, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

As I read a data Breach in India thru Call center is a very serious matter. We as a customer can not trust to be secure. No matter where the call centers are the main concern is our security of the data of the card. If India cannot serve this security, it is the responsibility of the company how to save them or bring them back to US. this is the time to stop the outsourcing now.

Tue, Oct 10, 2006 Steve Anonymous

I have talked to friends from India and they said that this goes on all the time.

This is what happens when you outsource lots of jobs to save money for american corporations. This is why we need people in the U.S. and other countries to unionize.

Mon, Apr 5, 2004 alexandr Israe


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