Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Black market for data on Australians

It seems that the story we covered a while back on the security breach at an Indian Call centre won't go away-an undercover operation that allegedly found customers' data for sale by outsourcers has rocked the Indian software and service industry.

According to a Australian Broadcasting Corporation shock TV report yesterday, there's a thriving black market for highly sensitive, personal and financial details about Australians leaked from offshore call centers operating in India. (see program transcript) .

In sharp reaction to the report, the Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock warned companies operating in Australia to take the country's Privacy Act and its penalties seriously, regardless of where their offshore call center or IT operations are handled.

Starting with the security breach at an Indian call centre last month, a few discussions and topical papers circulated the Internet regarding security when outsourcing offshore. Sharp focus was brought to concerns over data security in call centres and we can expect more focus on this area as legislation and compliance bites deeper, and customers become more aware of their exposure in off-shoring agreements. You can also expect companies bidding for offshore business to use the Security angle to differentiate their services in the market.

UPDATE 18 August: Australia's federal privacy commissioner has opened a formal investigation into possible violations of the Privacy Act by Telstra Corp. mobile reseller Switch Mobile and call center outsourcer One Touch Solutions. See story at ComputerWorld.
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