Office of National Statistics outsources records to India

24 comments
Source Title:
ONS sends all our identities to India
Story Text:

The Register has done a bit of digging behind a ONS press release and runs a story that makes me glad (again) that I am not an American. All US birth, marriage and death records are to be digitised by being sent to India for processing. When questioned about the identity fraud problems that it could unleash, some entertaining quotes come up.

"Simply mentioning records and personal identity in the same sentence as India has sparked a fairly predictable debate in the press. The difference is that this is a large public sector deal, rather than a large private sector company, such as a bank.

"The ONS has been at pains to point out the security precautions it is taking. The workers won't be able to take laptops or mobile phones into the rooms where they are working with the data, for instance. They'll be working at dumb terminals with no internet access," he said.

Codling argues that there is no evidence to suggest India is any less secure than any other country. "This is about perception of risk, rather than actual risk," he concluded.

Comments

Now that they've outsourced

Now that they've outsourced all this maybe the ONS will have time to figure out all the clever shenanigans at the Treasury that have allowed Gordon Brown to disguise tens (hundreds?) of billions of pounds of debt by leaving them off of the UK Balance Sheet. Maybe the ONS will now give us a true picture of vital national statistics and expose the sorry state of public finances.

Look we all know he found a

Look we all know he found a couple of billion down the back of his sofa ;)

I worry about the security of these projects...the small amount of money the Indian companies pay their employees opens them up for corruption. The amount of money that can be made in a week from stealing one persons identity must be quite a few times more than their monthly pay....watch out for the guy in the Ferrarri turning up for work ;)

>> the small amount of money

>> the small amount of money the Indian companies pay their employees opens them up for corruption

The fact that the amount is small in UK terms does not make it small in Indian terms and if the premise of your argument is false the conclusions cannot be considered reliable i.e. that they are therefore open to corruption

Assuming that extent of honesty - or lack of honesty - is equal across all peoples ... the Indian getting paid 25% of the average UK salary is likely to be far more satisfied with his lot than the UK employee getting paid 100% of the average UK salary. Assuming quality of security, management etc were constant I know who I'd rather have handling my confidential information.

....very nice and simplified

....very nice and simplified but that 42" TV costs the same in both countries and they don't get 0% credit!!!

The value of all housing,goods and services is not 25% of UK now is it so they have a greater temptation. After all a lot of these people are graduates and are more aware of the so-called "better standard of living" in the "developed" countries.

Don'y you just love "" its so media ;)

>> After all a lot of these

>> After all a lot of these people are graduates
They probably ALL are. A large % will be post grads but that has nothing to do with "awareness".

>> The value of all housing,goods and services is not 25% of UK now
No, it's often much less. You can get a good meal in a restaurant for the equivalent of £1.00.

0% credit doesn't exist. Credit cost is usually built into the higher price the more naive consumers pay. Ferrari/42" TV? It's obvious you don't have any idea what the average Indian hankers for & assume he has the exact same material aspirations as his UK counterpart.

A recent survey a client of mine conducted revealed a most unusual #1 aspiration among recent graduates .... to buy a plot of land!

>> "better standard of living" in the "developed" countries.
Sorry to burst your bubble but an Indian earning 25% of the average UK wage already has a better lifestyle than the average UK worker.

perfectly normal

>>A recent survey a client of mine conducted revealed a most unusual #1 aspiration among recent graduates .... to buy a plot of land!

nope, that's my #1 aspiration too

I see the sarcasm went over

I see the sarcasm went over your head...and who am I to stand against your overwhelming knowledge and experience.

Mind one of my aspirations is to buy a plot of land, then build a house with a 42" TV in it...;)

>> Mind one of my

>> Mind one of my aspirations is to buy a plot of land, then build a house with a 42" TV in it.

I'm gald you don't work in a call centre ;-)

>>who am I to stand against your overwhelming knowledge and experience
You're someone who should be working for the ONS calculating comparative disposable incomes. :)

If I can get the talk back to the ONS & outsourcing... the problem is they've made a fair few gaffes already. Let's hope they properly manage this outsourcing.

I tell you what enter indian

I tell you what enter indian outsource fraud into a google browser and see the aspirations of your down to earth indian graduates

I tired that, I get 74,200

I tired that, I get 74,200 results. And for a different search - webmaster click fraud - I get 895,000 results. Life's a bitch, if you don't fall in one group you end up in another!

why are we even discussing the honesty of a nation?

replace india with any country for the sake of this discussion - most (not all) call centres are staffed by students and transient workers with high staff turnover and low job satisfaction - I suspect they're all equally easy to corrupt if the data's worth enough to you....

meanwhile, Yes - this is the US ONS and not the UK one accordingto Cornwalls original post.

My apologies to Mr Cook, the

My apologies to Mr Cook, the article kept mentioning "UK".

Oh please your comparing

Oh please your comparing webmaster click fraud to the consequences of a break down in security in ONS records. This could lead to breaches in national security, identity theft, blackmail, etc.

>> your (sic) comparing

>> your (sic) comparing webmaster click fraud to the consequences of a break down in security

You're not making sense anymore :)

Gurtie, are you sure we're talking US ONS? 250 million records sounds more like the UK. Cornwall, psst, I know where you can get a green card ;-)

>> 250m records of births, marriages and deaths dating back as far as 1837.

Darn thit hippens wen you

Darn thit hippens wen you tyep to fist withit dinking ;)

PS. Your survey of Indian graduates was based on what sample size and regional breakdown?

um

no the article reads like it's about the UK - my bad - but I blame cornwall ;)

Cornwall, psst, I know

OK - shoot the messenger :-)

As for the Green Card, its (almost)the very last thing I want in life.

It is funny it has been outsourced...

...to a country that is pretty darn easy to get forged documents in.

Here is a small problem in the states: foreign nationals come over, run up debt, and leave back home (not paying debt). If they want to come back, bribe, get new documents, come back over (and hopefully not repeat).

I married into a Hindu family that told me all about the ease of getting new documents. They actually told the stories as if they were a cool thing.

Argh!

Enron went down owing more

Enron went down owing more than what all foreigners from all countries collectively ever owed US Plc. There've been massive other frauds running into hundreds of millions of dollars... all perpetrated by Americans. But, I'm making no excuse for the family you speak of. Every country has its crooks.

>>get new documents, come back over
LOL! "Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see" comes to mind. Sure, some documents in India are easy to come by but do you have any idea of what it takes for an Indian to get a US visa? I've been there, done that. In addition to supplying a three inch high pile of academic certificates (including school reports going back to when I was six) I had to supply GMAT scores from an American Exam board, TOEFL scores from an American Exam board, proof of acceptance at a fairly good US university, three years worth of audited accounts - with my tax details so they could double check with the government, a sponsor, a bank statement showing several lakh rupees, and proof of immovable property in my name to make a case that I had enough in India to persuade me to return. I had to also supply police clearances, employer references... the list goes on. And, people with all that still get turned down for a visa.

Since 9/11 I reckon it hasn't gotten any easier. I can't see people coming and going with the ease you assume. Jeez, it takes a year just to get through the university application procedure.

About a year ago there was a survey published in the Daily Telegraph and elsewhere (no, mabont, I'll let you have the pleasure of digging it out) that examined consumer honesty. They asked the average guy in the street what he'd do in situations like being given excess change at a till, on an insurance claim for a bumper scratch etc. Among all the countries surveyed the UK consumer came out as the most crooked. Running a customer facing business in the UK I often have customers fraudulently "trying it on" and then are brazen faced enough to say, "You can't blame me for trying". A large section of the population consider it normal to cheat as long as they don't get caught. So, yes, the UK has its share of crooks too. (If a retailer puts a £0.99 sticker accidentally on an item that should be £99 there are customers who'll take him to court to try and get it for £0.99. Nothing wrong there? In some countries people would be appalled at behaviour like that. The shopper would likely get beaten up.)

I maintain that the ONS can either setup in India or offsource but they will probably get great value, will definitely get a lot more done for the same money, will be able to afford a higher level of security at lower cost, will get talent they're hardly likely to ever attract in the UK even with more money, have a workforce willing to work hard and conscienciously - without constant referrals to what their employee "rights" are, have a workforce willing to train and retrain and maintain the skills their employer requires, and - as it's not a customer facing job where the employee gets racially abused by customers - the ONS will find that their employee "assets" stay loyal to the employer... a quality rarely seen in some countries.

That there is someone outside who's willing to do them a forged driving licence (or, in the US, a forged ID card saying they're old enough to buy booze... they're a dime a dozen) is not relevant.

Is this for real?

Is this for real?

If our data is stolen in

If our data is stolen in which country will the charges be laid?

I didn't ask for the survey on graduates not one from the Telegraph about consumer honesty...and I'm not expecting the guy on the street to be doing administration in the ONS.

Your not answering my questions, your just trying to prove how dishonest the UK man in the street is...yet the graduated population of the secondest most populous country int the world are all good honest chaps. I'm not questioning the honesty of the man on the street in India just those being paid a quarter of those in the west who could be offered bribes for data...which has already happened in some call centres.

Do I want my data being looked after by workers without sensible "rights"? No, I don't want staff who can be easily discarded and replaced by another graduate, another reason for potential theft of data if they know they will be sacked.

Which other countries took part in this consumer survey? Was India included? Was it just "first" world countries? Most surveys are useless because they use the wrong parameters and used to fuel a point of the institution that ordered it...

>> Your (sic) not answering

>> Your (sic) not answering my questions
Send me your details by PM and I'll pass them on to my client. You can agree costs between you for sharing his data. The fact that Indian graduates aspire to buy property isn't core to any relevant points in the ONS story.

>> If our data is stolen in which country will the charges be laid
Your data? LOL. We're not talking DPR data, we're talking ONS! They don't hold your credit card number, their data is more unemployment rates, how many teenage pregnancies were aborted...etc

>> I don't want staff who can be easily discarded and replaced by another graduate.
Ah, so we're agreed that quality staff matter. :-)

>> Most surveys are useless because they use the wrong parameters and used to fuel a point of the institution that ordered it...
That is true. You really should consider a job in the ONS ;-)

I so you can't back up your

I so you can't back up your claims because of client confidentiality...in which case you shouldn't even of mentioned it...but if it has not relevant why why raise it.

How many graduates are there in India?

It is my data it contains data on me and my family, do you know how much some of that data is worth? Do you know what you can get with the data they store?

Closed Thread

Ok guys, I don't think we'll be getting much further with this one eh? And as there's just the two of you involved, im goint to close down the thread.

Thanks everyone!

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