UK man with leaked Tata staff database in alleged blackmail attempt

Data security

UK man with leaked Tata staff database in alleged blackmail attempt

Karl Flinders

A UK man has been ordered by the High Court in London to return a database of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) staff that he gained illegally from an employee of the IT services firm in India.

According to reports a UK citizen obtained the Tata Consultancy Services employee database, containing details of US and UK staff, after failing to get a job in the UK with TCS.

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He then allegedly tried to blackmail the company, claiming the database proved TCS had broken the visa rules for offshore firms bringing staff in to work in the UK. Under the tier two intra-company transfer (ICT) rules overseas companies may bring staff into the UK if they have a UK presence. Staff may come to the UK only if no suitable UK staff are available and they must be paid the UK rate. The rules are designed to stop companies bringing in low-cost staff that undercut UK workers. The man said that TCS had broken these rules. 

He allegedly demanded a job as a manager and the establishment of a committee to prevent the rules being broken. He said he had originally been offered a job by the company but it had never materialised because the position had been taken by a lower-cost worker from India.

According to a report the man emailed TCS CEO Natarajan Chandrasekaran with the following: “I have managed to get a full list of employees presently working in UK and America and have selected few for your reference.... This is just a sample and I have a list of 1023 employees just in UK who have been employed in Breach of Tier 2 ICT.”

A judge ordered him to return the confidential information in his possession.

A TCS spokesperson said: “TCS has obtained an interim injunction in the High Court in London against [the UK citizen]. TCS does not intend to comment further on this ongoing litigation.”

TCS has more than 200,000 staff globally and is hiring in the UK. Its investments include a 300-staff delivery centre in Liverpool that went live in June last year.

According to freedom of information requests from website BackTheMac, which campaigns against abuse of the ICT rules, there are 35,565 ICTs in the UK from India out of a total of about 60,000. IT workers account for a large proportion of the ICT numbers. For example, in December, at the top of the profession alone there were over 12,000 IT software professionals, nearly 6,000 programmers and software development professionals and just under 5,000 IT business analysts, architects and systems designers.


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