Nasscom slams Channel 4 'sting' operation

Nasscom slams Channel 4 'sting' operation

India's National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) has ordered UK broadcaster Channel 4 to hand over information from a documentary about alleged financial data theft at call centres in India.

A 12-month undercover investigation by Channel 4's Dispatches programme has allegedly found that personal customer information - including credit card numbers along with passport and driving licence details - is being stolen from call centres in India and sold on the blackmarket.

An undercover reporter found that 'middlemen' are offering bulk packages of tens of thousands of credit card numbers for sale. Dispatches reporters were thought to have been offered a database with the credit card details of 200,000 people to be used as commercial 'leads'.

But Nassco has questioned the "verifiability" of sting operations where monetary inducements are provided.

Kiran Karnik, president, Nasscom, says: "These operations sometimes go beyond uncovering wrongdoing and actually induce criminal activity that is then recorded and aired. In this particular case, one of the alleged criminals has stated that the data he offered for sale was fake."

Karnik says the trade association will work with Indian police authorities to investigate the claims made in the programme.

The association has ordered Dispatches to hand over evidence and support documentation from the investigation. Makers of the programme have so far refused to hand over any details.

Nasscom has reportedly sent a representative to London to manage the fallout of a Channel 4 documentary which will air on Thursday evening.

In June last year UK daily tabloid The Sun said that an undercover reporter was able to buy personal bank account details from an IT worker in Delhi.

News of the Sun's 'sting' operation came just two months after three former employees of Indian BPO firm MphasiS were arrested for allegedly siphoning off $300,000 from Citibank customers after stealing account details while working at an offshore call centre in India.

Earlier this year a worker at HSBC's Bangalore call centre was arrested on suspicion of selling the confidential bank account details of UK customers to fraudsters.

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