[ISN] Banks to face no charges over India data theft incident

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Wed Jan 18 2006 - 01:07:11 PST


By James Niccolai
JANUARY 17, 2006

The U.K. banks whose customer data was allegedly stolen from an Indian
call center and sold to an undercover reporter last year will face no
charges, a spokesman for the U.K. Information Commissioner's Office

The office, which helps enforce the U.K.'s 1998 Data Protection Act,
has received no complaints about the alleged data theft since it was
reported by the Sun newspaper last June, and has also not seen
evidence that the incident took place, the spokesman said.

"We haven't been able to get [evidence] from the Sun," the spokesman
said Monday. "Without any further information, there's really no

The Commissioner's Office concluded from its investigations that
security policies at the Indian call centers were sufficient, the
spokesman said.

According to the Sun story last year, the undercover reporter bought
information relating to 1,000 bank accounts from a seller who said he
had gathered the data from contacts at call centers in Delhi.

The data pertained to accounts held in British banks that had
outsourced work to call center companies in and around Delhi, the
tabloid newspaper said. The seller, identified by the Sun as Kkaran
Bahree, told the reporter that he could provide 200,000 more account
details per month, the Sun reported.

Police in Delhi have said they could not arrest Bahree because they
received no formal complaint from the call-center companies, the banks
or their customers. India's National Association of Software and
Service Companies has also said it never received a complaint, and
Bahree was never charged See (See "No complaints filed over data theft
in India" [1]).

Bahree has claimed that he gave the Sun reporter a CD at the
insistence of a friend without knowing that it held classified
contents. One NASSCOM official has accused the newspaper of conducting
a "sting operation" in order to tarnish the reputation of India's
outsourcing industry.

The Sun has said it turned over information about the incident,
including the names of the banks involved, to the City of London
Police. However, the City of London Police has said it had no
jurisdiction to bring prosecution in the U.K. and that it passed the
information on to the Indian authorities.

The spokesman for the Information Commissioner said the case could be
reopened if complaints or evidence relating to the data theft turn up.

[1] http://www.computerworld.com/industrytopics/financial/story/0,10801,104003,00.html

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