Priyanka Vyas

New Delhi, Oct. 5

In response to the sting operation conducted by UK's Channel 4 on data theft occurring in Indian call centres, the President of the Call Centre Association of India, Mr Sam Chopra, said, "Frauds in the Indian BPO industry account for a fraction of a per cent of data theft. Data security is a matter of concern, however such cases exist in minuscule numbers across all industries and any generalisation on the entire industry based on a particular incident would be unfair."

Commenting on the initiatives taken by the Association, he said that unless the UK TV channel names the companies concerned, it would be difficult to take any action. "However, on our part, we are taking initiatives to ensure secured data protection among SMEs in the Indian IT industry. The beta testing is on and expected to start by the end of this year," said Mr Chopra.

On the issue of data protection within the Indian BPO industry, the Managing Director of Dell International Services, Mr Romi Malhotra, said, "There is a definite need for stronger data protection laws in the country. However, in comparison to the US and UK, the cases of fraud in Indian BPO sector are much less." When asked if the previous cases of data theft had raised any concerns in the US and other countries for outsourcing in India, he said that it had not affected the confidence of people in the West towards India.

The companies on their part need to ensure adequate safeguards and educate their workforce. Dell has already asked its employees to register themselves under the National Skills Registry programmes undertaken by Nasscom and expects a majority to register. Some days ago, the Nasscom President too had dismissed concerns about data protection, saying that the numbers were too small, but the issue was being addressed with all seriousness.

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Keep out the data thieves

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 6, 2006)
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