Data owners and industry bodies have lined up to condemn the intermediaries who handled customer renewal data allegedly stolen by TMobile staff. “Disgraceful behaviour” is how Chris McDonald, managing director of The Trading Floor described the trade in illegally obtained information, while the DMA warned of further legislation as a result.
“The bottom line is that data users need to understand 100 per cent where data has been sourced, the permissions attached and what they can do with it. It is not just the brokers, but the people using it who should be asking the questions,” says McDonald.
According to the Information Commissioner’s Office, “it appears that the information has been sold on to several brokers and that substantial amounts of money have changed hands.” The ICO has executed a number of search warrants and prosecutions are pending.
T-Mobile has stated that the breach occurred between July 2007 and November 2008. In September 2008, a Bristol-based broker posted on the Affiliates4U.com website for “someone who is able to get hold of consumer mobile contract renewal data for either O2, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange or 3 (3 being the most desirable at present).” By November, the same person posted that, “we currently have available between 50-70,000 T-Mobile contract renewal customers per month.”
McDonald notes that his company deals directly with data owners and never uses data that does not have the right permissions. He adds: “Clients using data have got the responsibility to check it is 100 per cent legitimate.”