Vodafone in data bungle


Deloitte has lost a laptop containing the personal data of thousands of Vodafone employees.

The laptop was stolen from external auditor Deloitte during a recent statutory pension scheme audit and also contained employee’s surnames and initials, employee numbers and grades, as well as pensionable salary, earnings and contribution information.

Vodafone alerted effected employees in a letter explaining the incident and also provided advice in how to avoid identity fraud.

“I received this letter in the post today and was horrified that my details are now in the hands of criminals,” said one disgruntled ex-employee. “How can Vodafone let this happen? It’s a disgrace.

“It’s pretty disgusting that that information could be left out for anyone to get their hands on. My personal details could be used to open a bank account or a credit card, that’s my greatest concern.”

The laptop contained details of all Vodafone UK staff with pensions as well as scheme holders from BSkyB, Network Rail and Railway Pensions. Around 100,000 people’s data are thought to be at risk.

Deloitte stressed the data was password protected and encrypted and claimed that the “risk of unauthorised access to the data is remote”.

In a statement a Deloitte spokesperson said: “The data did not include addresses or bank account information. The theft was immediately reported to the police and relevant clients were notified.

“The laptop was protected by a number of security measures, including start up password, operating system user ID / password authentication and encryption.

“Deloitte has information security policies which include guidelines for employees to ensure they pay close attention to their laptops when in public places. Nevertheless, and very unfortunately, this theft still occurred.”

A Vodafone spokesperson said: “Vodafone is extremely concerned about the breach in security of our employees’ personal information and we take the matter very seriously. Deloitte is a highly reputable firm and also sincerely regrets that this opportunistic theft has happened.
“Vodafone will continue to liaise with Deloitte to ensure that their security processes are of the standard that we expect of a company which has access to such information.”