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'India bashing over alleged call centre thefts must stop'

Despite the recent 'sting' operations revealing how easy it is to purchase customer information from Indian call centers, the country was vindicated by author of Outsourcing to India: The Offshore Advantage.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2006 10:42 IST

Stressing that India-bashing must stop over alleged data theft in call centres, an IT specialist who has authored a book on outsourcing said the country is far ahead of Britain in planning how to operate a service industry with hundreds of thousands of employees accessing personal data on customers.

The recent undercover 'sting' operations reveal how easy it is to purchase customer information from call centers, "but that doesn't mean India deserves a bad reputation for data security," Mark Kobayashi-Hillary, author of Outsourcing to India: The Offshore Advantage said in a statement.

Asserting that he is no apologist for India, Mark said "I have worked in India, written about India and I love the country but I know there are plenty of areas where India could improve its attractiveness to foreign investors. However, one of the areas where we should be learning from the Indians is data protection, so it's disappointing to see such a reputable industry portrayed in this way."

He said a British channel showed an investigative reporter posing as a British executive wanting to buy customer information in order to start up a call centre—and that information (names, addresses, credit card numbers) was readily available for purchase.

"I can't argue that the report was not disturbing but how many more times do we need to watch or read about such sting operations in India? If you want the information then you can buy it anywhere, including London, Canada, the US and any other supposedly 'safe' country.

"I suffered identity theft myself last year when my debit card was cloned and 2,000 pounds cleaned out of my account. That wasn't from a call centre thief in Mumbai, it was from a card skimmer in Mayfair," he said.

First Published: Oct 07, 2006 10:42 IST