back to article Sky staffer plundered database to benefit naughty false firms

A former Sky employee who took Sky customers' information from its databases and passed it on for use by others was guilty of misusing the company's confidential information and infringing the firms' database rights, the High Court has ruled. Steven Lee, who worked for Sky In-Home Service for more than five years, was also …


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  1. Eradicate all BB entrants

    I remember getting a call about a month after Sky was installed. They told me that I now owned the box so a warranty was needed. Cue 10 minutes of me asking them why when I am covered by the EU 2 year manufacturer warranty and the Sale of Goods act. Suffice to say the caller continued insisting I didn't have these rights. So I just started talking jibberish everytime they tried to say something and they soon hung up :)

  2. SuperTim

    I get regular calls

    Each time they call they state that I got my box from sky. I get my boxes second hand due to sky not being able to offer them for any reasonable cost.

    Ironically, I may actually need a warranty, but I certainly aint getting from these ne'er do wells. I would rather buy a new box every 2 years than spend twice as much on warranty.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: I get regular calls

      I get similar. My Sky HD box, which I purchased new from a well known auction site, was never under a Sky warranty, and was purchased at least five years ago. About two months ago, I got a stream of calls from more than one maintenance company wanting to sell an extended warranty because my warranty had just 'run out'. I normally verbally abuse them down the 'phone. This is not normally in my nature, but I think that someone cold-calling me with incorrect information attempting to sell me something has no right to expect not to be abused, especially as I am on the TPS. They claimed that they had obtained my information from Sky, and thus it was not a cold call. Now I understand why it was happening. I'm still unrepentant about the verbal abuse, though.

      In truth, I probably could have used an extended warranty. I believe that the reason why I could by a Sky HD box at half of the then Sky HD upgrade price was because it is a first generation Thomson box that is now known to have power supply and tuner problems. I think Thomson dumped them on the open market when Sky switched manufacturer. So far, I've rebuilt the power supply twice (blown capacitors each time), and had to replace the hard disk, as well as cleaning the dust and crap out because it causes it to overheat.

      According to Sky, I am now one of the last few customers using a Thomson Sky HD box, and it is causing me problems as it won't run the Anytime+ on-demand service. I think I've managed to negotiate a reasonably priced replacement direct from Sky (the free replacement period has now expired, but all they want to charge is a standard installation - even though I have a quad LNB and a Sky HD box already so installation is just plugging it in and switching the registered box on the account), but if I take it up, I'm tied to them for another year. For all it's reported problems, I wish Virgin would cable our area so we had a choice, but I suspect that will never happen now.

    2. KnucklesTheDog

      Re: I get regular calls

      I've had Sky for over a decade and in that time I've had one box break. Sky charged a fixed £65 for a call out which would have covered replacing everything if required (cable, dish, box). My Dad once managed to get a free one out of them when his broke by telling them he'd rather cancel than pay the £65.

      If you had to call them out every single year you wouldn't recoup the cost of these warranties (equipment replaced by a £65 call out is covered by a new 12 month guarantee). They tell you the repair costs are many times this, which is just an outright lie.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I get regular calls

        Well you *might* actually have been interested in taking out a warranty from these people when they called... but have some sympathy for me (or not - your choice) when I got plagued by these calls despite never having been with Sky at all! And yet still my non-existent Sky box was out of warranty according to them.

        I conclude that someone, not necessarily the people named in this article, were just cold-calling random numbers trying it on. There has to be a reasonable percentage hit-rate of finding Sky-subscribed households and then it's just down to what percentage of those can be scammed into handing over money.

  3. Peter 26

    So what happened to the people, the judge says they did do it, but I see no mention of what punishment they got? Does it mean now the judge has said it did happen that they can be sued? Is this just civil not criminal?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A public flogging would be in order.

      1. Fatman

        RE: A public flogging would be in order.

        But a public execution would be a better deterrent to any future crimes committed by these jokers..

        Line them against the wall, and take out a .357 with hollow core bullets.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Perhaps they should bring back the stocks - wonder if it would be a better deterrent than community service / prison?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Criminal Charges?

    It doesn't seem as if there was much in the way of criminal charges, which is a shame. Much as I loath Sky I'm pleased to see that this behaviour was seen to be thoruoghly wrong.

    But what about the gross breach of confidentiality from the customers' points of view and the nuisance caused? I really would like to see scum like this banged away.

    1. Platelet

      Re: Criminal Charges?

      Civil at the moment. the TL:DR version ends with:

      It follows from my findings in relation to Mr Freeman, Mr Sullivan, Mr Marrow and Mr Steele that the papers in this case should be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions with a view to any criminal proceedings against one or more of those persons that he might feel are appropriate

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Criminal Charges?

        Ahh I missed that bit - should have scanned more thoroughly.

  5. Platelet

    Judge was a little on the cold side

    "Mr Waters' reliance on his medical condition to excuse him from responsibility ... and to explain his inability to participate at the trial ... was, on his own evidence, greatly exaggerated"

    "After I had completed drafting most of this judgment, including in particular the section dealing with Mr Waters, I was informed that Mr Waters had died"

    "I would merely observe that the causes of his death shown on his death certificate... seem at odds with the conditions which Mr Waters said that he suffered from at an earlier stage of these proceedings"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Judge was a little on the cold side

      Nope, just pointing out that the defendant was lying about his conditions too, as was his evidence, just fabrications

    2. The Baron

      Re: Judge was a little on the cold side

      It is the purpose of a judgment to illustrate as concisely as possible a judge's decision and the rationale behind it, not to express his personal feelings, whatever they may be.

      Furthermore, a closer reading shows that the judge is merely pointing out that Mr Waters had attempted to use an irrelevant and non-terminal medical condition as an excuse to withdraw his previous witness statement and change his story.

      In particular, I would suggest that a reading of paragraphs 91-94 will give readers a very clear indication of Mr Waters' active and deliberate intent to deceive the court by lying about his medical condition.

      1. Jediben

        Re: Judge was a little on the cold side

        Not as cold as Mr Waters is now!

        1. Chris007

          Re: Judge was a little on the cold side

          or "If I lose this case they can prise the compensation from my cold, dead fingers"

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. adam payne

    "Lee "transmitted" data that was "substantial in terms of both quantity and quality" when he copied customers' information from Sky's customer data onto disks that were later supplied to Digital Satellite Warranty Cover Limited (Digital), the judge Sir William Blackburne said in his ruling."

    Where was the security policy on the PCs to prevent this?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And people laugh at me when I start moaning about people who blindly follow service tickets for requests to simply extract data from DBs and FTP it to "some vendors site"! Christ, even if you ZIP'd with a password it would be a token effort at security but to simply dump to CSV files AND use vanilla FTP ( no not even SFTP! ) to send it off into the ether to Lord knows where, just defies all common sense in my book.

  8. JaitcH

    Using 'Murdoch' business morals against a Murdoch company

    Poetic justice.

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