One of the best lines in American movie history was "ooof," uttered by Sherriff Buford T. Justice in Smokey and the Bandit. That sudden gasp of "ooof" came to mind when news of a T-Mobile employee was accused of selling personal data. The feeling grew even worse when T-Mobile actually confirmed the dastardly deed earlier today. According to Reuters, the naughty employee in question gathered details of thousands of T-Mobile British customers and sold the data to rival companies.
After discovering the crime, T-Mobile contacted the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and spilled the beans. "While it is deeply regrettable that customer information has been misappropriated in this way, we have proactively supported the ICO to help stamp out what is a problem for the whole industry," a spokesperson for T-Mobile said.
According to Information Commissioner Christopher Graham, the act may have been highly profitable for the accused employee, but the result was that it violated Section 55 of the Data Protection Act. He also said that the accused sold details relating to phone contracts including name, address, and contract expiration date.
"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," Graham said in a statement. "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."
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