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T-Mobile Investigated For Selling Customer Data

Gordon Kelly


T-Mobile Investigated For Selling Customer Data


T-Mobile has admitted it is part of the Information Commissioner's Office investigation into the nationwide scandal that saw tens of thousands of users' details sold off to rivals and third parties.

In an official statement the company said:

'T-Mobile takes the protection of customer information seriously. When it became apparent that contract renewal information was being passed on to third parties without our knowledge, we alerted the Information Commssioner's Office."

"Working together, we identified the source of the breach which led to the ICO conducting an extensive investigation which we believe will lead to a prosecution," it added. "Whilst it is deeply regrettable that customer information has been misapproriated in this way, we have proactively supported the ICO to help stamp out what is a problem for the whole industry. "

While the red tops are likely to have a field day with this revelation it does seem - at least from T-Mobile's categorical statements - that is was wholly unaware of the breaches in security that were happening under its nose. That said, while it is important to know deliberate negligence was apparently not a factor, the revelation that that was able to occur inside the network without detection is almost as worrying,

Expect this story to run and run and developments to continue to break throughout the month. We'll keep you updated...


T- Mobile Official Statement


November 18, 2009, 12:49 pm

Hmm, no outcry over banks selling our personal data on an almost daily basis? No outcry over finance companies "sharing" our personal data with other companies either??

Mark Booth

November 18, 2009, 12:54 pm

As a software developer I know the problems companies face over data security. There is a lot internal company software out there with functions like "Export to Excel" on search result screens which is open to all sorts of abuse. Budget holders don't like spending money on features that do not increase productivity, so only the threat of security audits force change.

The most cost effective way to start securing your software is a security audit trail. Everything a user does is logged but the software still allows them to do bad things and sometimes they don't realise they can be traced.

Implementing a full security model is expensive and the most recent project I worked on only implemented one when moving into asia pacific markets due to tight regulation in some countries. I don't know much about law but that says to me UK and US regulation is not good enough.


November 18, 2009, 1:36 pm

Headline seems to imply that T-Mobile has/had an active policy of selling user data when it does not.


November 18, 2009, 2:47 pm

@farki80 Agreed, it is very misleading.


November 18, 2009, 3:07 pm

How about the DVLA selling our details? It goes on everywhere in government but no-one is stopping it.


November 18, 2009, 4:53 pm

Our details are out there in an ever increasing number of places, from local town halls, to central government & then all number of private companies.

It is inevitable that although the vast majority of workers in these places will be totally honest there will be someone out to make a quick buck, & our details will be sold.

I do not know if having our details in various overseas countries makes this more likely but I suspect so.

I just hope that if they catch the person or persons responsible that a hefty prison sentence is handed down.

Mr Booth (comment above) says this activity can be traced & it is high time every company put security of personal details & information at the top of their agenda, even above making money!


November 18, 2009, 5:10 pm

It should be made illegal for companies, government departments, social networking website et al. to pass on/sell user data to third parties without the express written permission of the person/people whose personal details they are. This should be done in the form of an 'Opt in' and not automatically taken for granted unless the user opts out. Not only should there be massive fine for companies concerned (failing to safeguard user data) but prison sentences for the individuals involved should they have acted on their own initiative. Companies that source sales leads in this way should also be named, shamed and punished for receiving stolen goods. I would like to know which operator was approaching T-Mobile's customers in this way.


November 18, 2009, 5:29 pm

@farki80 @Simon I can understand your viewpoints, but that is exactly what is happening: T-Mobile is being investigated for selling customer data and the Information Commissioner's Office is trying to work out what, if any, active role the network had in this. 'Investigated' does not imply guilt, 'accused' does.

Still, points taken on-board :)


November 21, 2009, 2:08 pm

I was flooded with calls at the end of my Tmobile contract - now I know why!

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