Sloppy attitude to customer data has to stop

Opinion

Sloppy attitude to customer data has to stop


It is easy to lose things, we have all gone mad looking for that missing sock or our mobile phones and car keys, but when it comes to a retailer losing your personal financial information it's harder to be forgiving.

After all when you walk into a store along with expecting the retailer to have a decent product range and a number of different price points you also expect that the credit card slips and other details will not end up going AWOL.

You expect this even more because outfits including Visa have talked of the efforts they are making to get retailers to look after that information and that has given rise to things like PCI, which comes into effect for major retailers at the end of next month.

But what the last couple of days have shown is that data continues to get lost and treated in a fairly sloppy manner. Credit agreements left in skips by Dixons and backup tapes simply vanishing over at Zurich Insurance are things that should cause some alarm.

On the positive side the fact that we all know about them shows that data loss is becoming more of a public issue and organisations like the Information Commissioner's Office will name and shame those that lose data.

But on the negative side it shows that it continues to happen and that there is still a very carefree attitude being shown towards sensitive data. Perhaps the threats of what can happen when security is compromised hasn't got through to retailers but it needs to and it needs to quickly.

You sense the naming and shaming and fines are only going to get more stern and steeper as time goes on. 

This was first published in August 2010

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