British members of the European Parliament are calling for new data protection laws to prevent unauthorised access to consumer data by offshore call centre and data processing operatives.
The MEPs, backed by British trade union Amicus which has been camapaigning against financial sector offshoring, have tabled plans for European regulations to prevent unauthorised access of personal details being processed abroad.
The Data Protection Act requires only that companies maintain their servers within EU boundaries, but carries no stipulation about data access rights.
David Fleming, Amicus national secretary for finance, says: "Offshoring is an accident waiting to happen. It is only a matter of time before a serious crime is committed which will ruin the reputation of the British financial services industry."
He points to a recent report from Ernst & Young that forecasts a major regulatory failing as a result of offshoring within the next five years.
UK newspaper The Evening Standard has reported that organised gangs are offering a years wages to Indian call centre staff in return for access to US and UK credit card details.
Amicus is predicting that 200,000 UK call centre and business services jobs will be exported from the UK by 2008 which will mean every banking and personal finance customer will be forced to allow their details out of the UK.