Buyer of computer containing bank details decries lack of 'regulatory clout'

The man who found the personal bank details of more than a million people on a second-hand computer he bought on eBay last week, has returned the machine...

The man who found the personal bank details of more than a million people on a second-hand computer he bought on eBay last week, has returned the machine to the company responsible for archiving the data.

Andrew Chapman, an IT manager at the University of Oxford, who bought the computer to store music files, told ComputerWeekly that he has sent the machine back to document scanning and archiving company Graphic Data, after the firm offered him compensation.

Chapman said he was disappointed that the head of investigation at the Information Commissioner's Office had not followed through on proposals to inspect the machine.

"I would have expected there to be a lot more regulatory clout," he said.

Graphic Data had initially described the computer as stolen property, said Chapman. But the company later said the computer was not intended to be disposed of by the company and investigations are ongoing to find out how this equipment was removed from one of the company's secure locations.

The Information Commissioner's Office said in a statement that it is investigating this potential data breach and will be seeking an urgent explanation from Graphic Data to establish what has gone wrong and the steps that are being taken to prevent a similar incident occurring.

A spokesman at the Financial Services Authority said the financial services watchdog has the power to fine companies for this type of data breach and is also prepared to fine financial services companies for breaches committed by the firms they outsource services to.

In the past 18 months, the FSA has fined three firms over £2m for failing to protect their customers' details, he said.

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