A Sense of Security


    A friend turned me onto this Motley Fool editorial by Rich Smith, which takes on the topic of the recent Citigroup debacle in Pune, India, where police arrested several people involved in theft from Citigroup customer accounts.

    Writes Mr. Smith:

    Opponents of the trend to outsource low-skill and low-value-added work to countries like India will undoubtedly want to use this Mphasis incident as ammunition in the PR war against outsourcing. They'll say that information sent to outsourcees abroad is inherently unsafe and open to abuse like what just occurred in Pune. That's true to an extent, but it misses the point.

    Like it or not, the fact remains that information can be stolen anywhere. The recent hacks of confidential personally identifiable data at ChoicePoint, Reed-Elsevier and Retail Ventures prove that. Information can be lost, as we saw happen with Bank of America's mysterious vanishing data tapes. And yes, information can even be stolen by employees of the company to which it's entrusted; not only in India, but right here in the U.S., as dozens of H&R Block clients learned in 2002.

    My spouse and I recently had to close one of our charge accounts and get new cards because somebody used our charge card numbers illegally to buy something or other that cost a few grand. For all we know, it could have been the tall, white waiter we gave an extra hefty tip to at that nice restaurant in Sacramento where we dined a few months ago. In the scheme of things, as Mr. Rich points out, India and the people who work there have very little to do with our security here in the US.