It seems that these stories are starting to crop up with alarming regularity, if it’s not the Government that is losing this information it is someone else, this time it is the banks.
Personal details of more than a million bank customers have been found on a computer sold on eBay.
This isn’t the first time that the banks have been exposed as being lackadaisical with our information. BBC TVs Watchdog programme has show time and again that the banks simply dump credit cards, bank statements, loan applications, and other sensitive information, out with the rubbish for anyone to go through.
This sort of negligence really needs to be a serious offence, so that companies are forced to do something, rather than asked albeit using stern words, to please be careful.
The banks are taking a tougher line with identity theft, shifting the blame onto customers for ‘clicking links in emails‘ or having ‘unsecure computers‘, and trying to make customers prove that they have been a victim. When clearly their own procedures are lax.
I am a customer of one of these banks, and as one of the two computers (that we know about – they are not obliged to tell us) hasn’t yet been found I could become a victim of fraud. I will now be scrutinising all my bank account and credits cards all the more, just in case. And should I be a victim I am going to have spend time and money proving it and trying to get my money back.
If people were able to sue the banks for this kind of data loss, it would quickly become a thing of the past. Instead we have an Information Commissioner who, on very rare occasions, will fine a company for a serious data breach.
Last year the Financial Services Authority fined Nationwide £980,000 after it lost a laptop containing customer information.
For companies that make upwards of £6 billion a year from British customers, £1 million is a drop in the ocean and hardly likely to make them spend money on decent security procedures and training. But if 1m customers could sue for negligence….
I am sure that would make all the banks buck up their ideas.
More than 3,200 laptops and mobile phones containing sensitive information have been lost or stolen from Government departments, it was revealed on Monday.
Shame the same thing couldn’t be done to the Government too.