Saturday, February 14, 2004

"Brown Peril" Hysteria

Here's a really nasty bit of xenophobic fear-mongering, irresponsible journalism of the worst kind, calculated to stir up a backlash against outsourcing to India.

STAFF at call centres in India are being bribed by organised crime and industrial spies to them help hack into the computer systems of British firms.

In at least two recent cases, local IT staff working on the sub-continent for UK institutions were involved in what industry sources say were 'security issues' in what is described as the tiniest fraction of a far larger problem.

In one case, sensitive financial information and credit card details were apparently illegally taken from a leading British financial institution.

A spokesman for the National Outsourcing Association (NOA) in Britain said: 'This shows that there are some things that you really should not send overseas. For organised criminals, this is a godsend.

'If you are using people in a low wage area, organised crime can afford to pay a lifetime's wages for data.'

The tipoff that this is nothing more than anti-outsourcing propaganda masquerading as a journalistic exposé is that not a single plausibly objective party is named as a source - the NOA is clearly a pressure group with an axe to grind, while the only other source quoted on the record, a director of an "information security solutions company", obviously has business to drum up. What's next, I wonder, lurid stories about Indian call center Lotharios lewdly chatting up "our" innocent young women?