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Carphone Warehouse Censured Over Data Protection Breaches

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The UK data and privacy watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) says that it has found dominant UK phone retailer, Carphone Warehouse, and its sister company TalkTalk, in breach of the Data Protection Act after investigating complaints concerning the way in which both organisations processed and stored personal information.

The ICO has now ordered Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk to improve their data protection practices or face prosecution after both companies failed to meet the basic principles of the Data Protection Act.

The ICO says that its investigation revealed that Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk had been opening customer accounts in the wrong name and passing inaccurate information on to credit reference agencies and debt collection agencies. Security failings had also led to customers being able to view other customers' account details online. In addition, the ICO found that the companies had not responded to requests by individuals for information held about them.

Mick Gorrill, Assistant Commissioner at the ICO, said: "Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk's use of inaccurate and incorrect personal data has caused real damage and distress to customers. We have now ordered them to take the necessary steps to ensure customers' personal information is sufficiently protected."

The company was fined 245,000 (US$463,000) in Sept 2006 by the UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA) after it was found guilty of miss-selling phone insurance policies and failing to respond to request for information in a timely manner.

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Tags: privacy  carphone warehouse  ico  insurance  talktalk  UK