Friday, October 27, 2006

Your personal information is for sale: Call centre edition

The BBC reports that
One in 10 of Glasgow's financial call centres has been infiltrated by criminal gangs, police believe.

The scam works by planting staff inside offices or by forcing current employees to provide sensitive customer details.

The information is then used to steal identities and fraudulently set up accounts or transfer money...

Det Ch Insp Derek Robertson of Strathclyde Police told the BBC's Newsnight Scotland programme that there were a large number of call centres in the Glasgow area...

"I would say approximately 10% have been infiltrated in the past and we are working very hard to reduce that number."

Detectives believe that criminal crews are sent out to recruit volunteers to work in the centres.

Once they agree, they are asked to supply financial information in return for a fee.

Another tactic is to identify pubs where call centre workers visit and intimidate the employees to pass on the details.

Det Ch Insp Robertson said: "There are a number of different ways to do it.

"We know of organised crime groups who are placing people within the call centres so that they can steal customers' data and carry out fraud and money laundering.

"We also know of employees leaving the call centres and being approached and coerced, whether physically, violently or by being encouraged to make some extra money.

"And of course you have the disgruntled employee who may turn their hand to fraud just to benefit themselves."
Expect data retention to be a goldmine for criminals.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

UK rules requiring all pub-goers to be fingerprinted at the door

Words fail me. From The Register:
The government is is funding the roll out of fingerprint security at the doors of pubs and clubs in major English cities.

Funding is being offered to councils that want to have their pubs keep a regional black list of known trouble makers. The fingerprint network installed in February by South Somerset District Council in Yeovil drinking holes is being used as the show case...

The council had assumed it was its duty under the Crime and Disorder Act (1998) to reduce drunken disorder by fingerprinting drinkers in the town centre.

Some licensees were not happy to have their punters fingerprinted, but are all now apparently behind the idea. Not only does the council let them open later if they join the scheme, but the system costs them only £1.50 a day to run.

Oh, and they are also coerced into taking the fingerprint system. New licences stipulate that a landlord who doesn't install fingerprint security and fails to show a "considerable" reduction in alcohol-related violence, will be put on report by the police and have their licences revoked.
Edited to add:
Ralf Bendrath kindly posted a link to his detailed analysis of this measure.

Samizdata have an enlightening take on the abuse of regulatory authority behind these rules.