Ladbrokes data scandal: personal information of millions of customers offered for sale to national newspaper

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Ladbrokes suffered a mighty embarrassment, earlier this week, and 4,500,000 customers had cause to get nervous, when the Mail On Sunday revealed that the UK uber-bookmaker’-s customer database had been offered to them for sale:

For sale: Personal details of millions of Ladbrokes gamblers, offered to the MoS by a mysterious Australian

The confidential records of millions of British gamblers who bet with top bookmaker Ladbrokes have been offered for sale to the Mail On Sunday. The huge data theft is now at the centre of a criminal investigation after this newspaper was given the personal information of 10,000 Ladbrokes customers and offered access to its database of 4.5 million people in the UK and abroad.

(more…-)

This is no fake claim, as attested to by the fact that a “-taster”- of the full database was handed over by the culprit, fully ten thousand names and highly confidential personal details for the purpose of whetting the potential client’-s appetite.

Hey-ho. The gambling industry at its predictable worst.

These incidents are not new –- I reported on an occurrence a few years ago in which an online gambling industry leader touted a database of 100,000 UK players to the highest bidder on his forum. Neither are they remotely hard to believe- while the average customer service representative might struggle to access his company’-s full customer list, an employee higher up the chain in the IT department should have no such difficulty –- a quick copy, paste and save…-and it’-s time to start lining up the buyers. I daresay the names of four and a half million bona fide gamblers would fetch a very fine price.

And while our data watchdog, the ICO, huffs and puffs its righteous indignation, I’-m sure they know there really is very, very little you can realistically do about this. Just one employee with access is all you need.

It serves as a reality check: when you put your details online, they are just that: online. Assume that, at some future point, someone will be hawking your phone number, email and physical address to the highest bidder.

I commented also in my Ladbrokes data theft post, and see also the Racing Post’-s Ladbrokes reassure users over data protection article.

Oh well, I don’-t know- maybe privacy is overrated. :)