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T-Mobile Owns Up To Data Theft By Its Staff

After the revelation by the Information Commissioner Office (ICO), that a major UK telecom company was being prosecuted on charges of selling millions of private customer data to third-parties, T-Mobile, UK’s fourth biggest telecom provider, came forward and admitted that its staff had sold private data of some of its users. But it also added that T-Mobile had informed the authorities when the knowledge of a leak came to light.

Christopher Graham, the person appointed for safeguarding personal information said in a statement that some of the staff members of the phone company had sold the data to other phone firms who in-turn used to cold-call those customers whose contract was about to be expired. He also added that the case, biggest of its kind, proved that there needed to be a prison sentence for people caught selling private data to third parties.

The Ministry of Justice has been consulting the ICO on tougher penalties for illegal trade in personal information. The Data Protection Act bans the selling on of data without prior permission from the customer and a fine of £5,000 can be imposed if charges are proven.

Justice Minister Michael Wills commented that the government was looking at bringing in tougher penalties to deter the illegal trade in personal information.

The ICO, working with T-Mobile is still preparing the prosecution to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.