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Company Director Fined for Abuse of Orange UK’s Private Customer Details

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014 (2:08 pm) - Score 779

The Government’s Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has fined Matthew Devlin (age 25), a director of three marketing and telecoms companies, the measly sum of £500 after he was found to have “illegally” accessed one of Orange UK’s (EE) customer databases in order to target users with rival upgrade promotions.

Apparently in 2011 Matthew Devlin gained access to details of when Orange UK’s customers were due a mobile phone upgrade by impersonating a member of the operators security team during calls and emails to legitimate mobile phone distributors. On one occasion he shockingly succeeded and “was able to access the records of 1,066 customers“.

It’s understood that EEswiftly” alerted the ICO of this breach and Devlin then wound up before Calderdale Magistrates Court, where he was fined £500, plus £438.63 costs and an £50 victim surcharge (unlawfully obtaining or accessing personal data is a criminal offence under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998).

Stephen Eckersley, ICO Head of Enforcement, said:

Personal data is a valuable commodity. Devlin lied and manipulated to access this information for his own profit and now he’s facing a fine and a criminal conviction.

EE swiftly alerted us to this breach and their security procedures allowed the ICO to identify Devlin as the perpetrator.”

The ICO, with support from deputy PM Nick Clegg, has already called for tougher penalties (including the prospect of prison for the most serious cases) because the ones that “exist at the moment are pathetic” (Nick Clegg).

UPDATE 13th Nov 2014

A spokesperson for EE has been in contact to clarify that the incident took place in 2011 (now edited in above), which is before Orange became a part of EE.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar Kits says:

    So this is why Tmobile been calling my mobile I put their number on the reject list.

  2. Avatar Captain Cretin says:

    £500 is a JOKE, a guy got fined as much last week for dropping a coffee cup lid.

  3. Avatar Greg says:

    This muppet should have been fined at the very least £500,000 plus costs.

    (I’m not even a customer of EE either.)

  4. Avatar dragoneast says:

    Um, there are at least two occasions in the last ten years when I’ve had mysterious phone calls (not from my supplier) when my Orange mobile contract has come to the end of its fixed term. They’re very cagey about who they are, implying (but not saying) they are “connected” to a known name; and very persistent, on one occasion making ten phone calls in the course of a couple of hours. I suspect this is the thin edge of a very large wedge. They know my number and that a contract expiry is due, but know nothing else about the account, including details of my existing phone (as one would expect from the supplier). But as we know, the UK is the place to make money any which way you can, and regulators excel at turning the blind eye, with the occasional nod in the direction of enforcement when they have run out of other options.

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