PL&B UK E-news, Issue 49

1. ICO to investigate call centres’ data processing

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is looking into the data processing of Indian-based call centres following claims that UK citizens’ financial details are being sold on a large scale. A Channel 4 Dispatches documentary revealed last week that an undercover reporter was offered financial details of 100,000 customers of UK organisations.

David Smith, Deputy Information Commissioner, told PL&B that the ICO has launched an investigation. “It appears that some mobile phone companies' call centres in India are being targeted by criminals intent on unlawfully obtaining UK citizens' financial records and this will be the focus of our investigation. We are concerned by any breaches of security particularly if they involve confidential banking details.”

Smith continued: “Depending on the outcome of our investigation we will consider whether we need to use our formal enforcement powers to prevent incidents like this happening again in the future. Ultimately this could include ordering a company to stop processing personal information outside the UK."

2. RFIDs and CCTV images are personal data if combined

The Information Commissioner’s Office says that if organisations u Radio Frequency Identification Data (RFID), and at the same time collect personal identifying information, such as CCTV footage, this falls under the remit of the Data Protection Act.

The ICO’s new guidance on RFIDs also suggests that retailers who collect personal data with RFIDs will have inform consumers of the presence of RFID tags on products, and explain the implications. The ICO also expects organisations to tell consumers what personal information is being collected, and the purposes it will be used for.

A full report on the ICO guidance and the industry’s response to it will be published in the December issue of the PL&B UK Newsletter.

The ICO guidance was published in September 2006.