[ISN] Banks caught dumping customers' personal details in public waste bins

From: InfoSec News (alerts@private)
Date: Thu Jul 12 2007 - 02:59:37 PDT


11th July 2007

A 'horrifying' number numbers of banks, shops and Government departments 
are said to be fuelling a £1.7billion a year crime racket by failing to 
protect people's privacy.

They have been caught dumping customers' details in public waste bins or 
leaving personal information for all to see online.

Their actions have prompted 24,000 complaints to privacy watchdogs, who 
said the lapses left customers wide open to identity theft.

Information commissioner Richard Thomas said: 'The roll call of banks, 
retailers, Government departments, public bodies and other organisations 
which have admitted serious security lapses is, frankly, horrifying.'

The warning comes today in the Information Commission Office's annual 
report, which shows complaints about breaches of privacy have risen nine 
per cent in the past year.

Among those accused of dumping customers' details in bins are NatWest, 
Barclays, Nationwide building society and the Post Office.

Orange compromised security by giving all its call centre staff the same 
computer log-in.

The Immigration Advisory Service and the Child Support Agency were also 
accused, while the Department of Health left junior doctors' job 
applications on the Web for at least eight hours.

There is a 'thriving and lucrative' market for illegally obtained 
personal information to be used in identity thefts and fraud, which 
costs an estimated £1.7billion a year, the commission says.

Mr Thomas added: 'Over the last year we have seen far too many careless 
and inexcusable breaches of people's personal information.'

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