During the Christmas period most people invariably experience the sensation that, with hindsight, their credit cards have been exposed a little too much for their liking. According to a report in the Lancashire Evening Post this week (click here), consumers who use MBNA credit cards may have another reason to worry about their credit cards, aside from the usual fears about excessive Christmas spending. This is because the personal details of thousands of MBNA customers have apparently fallen into criminal hands after a Preston based contractor of MBNA had a laptop stolen with unsecured cardholder data stored on the machine.
The company confirmed that customer information had been “compromised” at one of their vendors earlier this month but claimed that stolen information did not contain any PIN numbers. Despite this, the fear is that criminals could use the data for identity theft, a prime reason behind why MBNA has offered customers who are affected, a year’s free access to the “CreditExpert” credit monitoring service from Experian, which monitors for fraudulent transactions and aims to prevent and address identity fraud.
As 2009 draws to a close Datonomy can’t help but reflect on the fact that it is again reporting on the news of another data protection breach, a topic that has been much discussed over the past year. Indeed, we first posted on the issue during the first week of January 2009, when we reported on the Welsh Assembly’s admission that it had recorded 16 data-sensitive documents lost or stolen in the preceding three years (click here).
With the Ministry of Justice’s current public consultation on the introduction of stricter penalties on data protection offences closing in January next year, Datonomy wonders whether 2010 will prove to be a year for greater personal data security.