November 21, 2009 by openbytes
Is £5000 a deterrent?
Its been well reported in the last week about the personal data that T-Mobile has alleged to have lost control over and subsequently it appears that some unscrupulous employee’s have sold that data on. The worth of that data being that rival companies could use it to sell new subscriptions when a customer is coming to the end of their contract. It is now rumoured that in fact this is not current news as its been going on for over a year. It does seem to ring true. I have been a customer of T-Mobile and I have had many individuals ringing me up to offer me a new contract using many different tactics (as my current contract comes to an end) You may be wondering why I am going with this article, but I think it makes an interesting point about copyright and IP.
A couple of important points to note here though. Firstly the fine for an offense under the Data Protection Act will be around £5000, pretty small fry compared to the potential worth of the information. Secondly, T-Mobile does not know how many of their customers have left because of this leaked information and finally (and maybe most important of all) whilst the information of the customer has been sold to rivals, who else has it been sold to and whats their purpose?
One member of staff at T-Mobile has already been sacked, but it does ask the question how many other companies are yet to discover that an unscrupulous employee has sold their data?
The information commissioner (Christopher Grahame) said:
Many people will have wondered why and how they are being contacted by someone they do not know just before their existing phone contract is about to expire. We are considering the evidence with a view to prosecuting those responsible and I am keen to go much further and close down the entire unlawful industry in personal data. But, we will only be able to do this if blaggers and others who trade in personal data face the threat of a prison sentence.
One wonders where the deterrent is for this type of action. It was reported on a local radio feature, that a recent raid on a business that engaged in this type of practice, had officials posed with the question (by the owner) “Would you like me to write the check out now?”
P2P copyright infringement – “Do as I say, not as I do”?
So now we come to the main point of my article. Ive made many references to the site Torrentfreak, I asked the question of copyright infringement to be justified by any of its users and to date have received no responses. I know that they visit as I see the referrals coming into the site.
Have a look at some of the comments on Torrentfreak. It seems that file sharers believe that there is no problem with sharing data because, its just data (please correct me if I’m wrong) They see no problem with the sharing of movies, videos or other media, but they seem mysteriously silent on the T-mobile issue. If file sharers believe that all data should be shared, then surely they should have no problems with the personal data being shared with other companies? Please, if you are a file sharer put your opinion on that one.
Let me quote “The Hacker Ethic” found here.
….A free exchange of information, particularly when the information was in the form of a computer program, allows for greater overall creativity.
I’ll let you decide what the average file sharer believes.
Goblin – email@example.com