back to article T-Mobile Czech ad man steals, sells, 1.5 million customer records

A million and a half customer records have strolled out the door of T-Mobile Czech Republic in an employee's pocket. The customer service staffer attempted to sell the datasets but T-Mobile refused to reveal further detailed information, citing an ongoing police investigation. It is unknown how much of the usual name, e-mail …

  1. Fihart

    forgive me correcting your correction

    "data are (sic) safe”

    I thought Data was plural anyway, so why the (sic) ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: forgive me correcting your correction

      enter the minefield...

      that said, in this context, I'ld go for singular.

    2. quattroprorocked

      Re: forgive me correcting your correction

      because the english language is gloriously messy. In fact in this case the decision to use is or are would be defined by the extent to which the word data is being considered a plural, or a singular.

      "Your data is safe", referring to a singular you, where data is a group but singular object - like "flock" of birds. "The flock is safe" vs "the birds are safe"

      "Don't worry, the data are safe" is using data to either be a plural of datum OR possibly, given that each customer record is a data item, and many have been affected, using data as the plural of data (items).

      There is also scope to discuss the emphasis difference between IS and ARE, but that's getting into the realms of poetry :-)

      Actually it's probably a non native speaker writing a release in their second or third language and we shouldn't be so picky unless we can do better in Czech :-)

      Yes, I'm procrastinating and must get back to work.

    3. Mike Shepherd

      Re: forgive me correcting your correction

      When you start throwing the sics around, you'd best be very careful about the rest of your message, because people are liable to throw a few back. In this case, the author is either pushing his own preference or doesn't have the experience to know that some people use "data" as the plural of "datum", while others have adopted it as an ordinary English singular noun.

      Some foreign-derived words should be labelled "Don't try this at home", to save us the pain of "this criteria", "in memorium", "ad nauseum" and the rest. Don't get me started on "graffito".

    4. glen waverley

      Re: forgive me correcting your correction

      "data are (sic) safe”

      And is it not usual for the sic to be in square brackets thus "...[sic]..."? To show it is an editorial comment, and not part of the original piece.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: forgive me correcting your correction

        You know I can't help wonder what site forums that are about literacy look like when someone gets English a little wrong. The thread must be epic.* :)

        *this is not a criticism, for example I never knew that about data, and there is always something new to learn. Just amuses/ impresses me the breadth of knowledge on this site.

        1. David Pollard

          Re: forgive me correcting your correction

          I can't help but wonder where the moderatrix is now.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: forgive me correcting your correction

            He's well sic innit

        2. Wensleydale Cheese

          Re: forgive me correcting your correction

          "You know I can't help wonder what site forums that are about literacy look like when someone gets English a little wrong. The thread must be epic."

          Fill yer boots:


          Best viewed using a proper newsreader instead of Google Groups' 'orrible interface.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1.5 million records

    Is not difficult to "siphon" off if you have the ability to run a SQL query against the approriate database.

    Or if their CRM software is capable of syncing contacts to <insert mail client but who are we kidding its probably outlook> then export to a nice PST file.

    Whether or not the 1.5 million records are worth anything is a different matter.

    Id imagine quite a large number are probably old accounts that are dormant and are of questionable accuracy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1.5 million records

      Im not sure what the downvote is for. But an untargeted list with potentially stale records in it has limited use.

      I work for a well known company that is about to sell that has a similarly sized list that is heavily targeted and it has a value in the 4 digit range. Its not worth a wank specifically because the relationship with the list is none transferable.

  3. jms222

    Why oh why oh why is it it even _possible_ to walk out of these large organisations with data in your pocket. The computers should be set up so that the only way is by using a camera one screen at a time.

    If people really need to work on data at home it should be done by connection to the main systems and again they only get to see data a screen at a time.

  4. adam payne

    The telco says its "robust security mechanisms" meant it could "respond immediately and secure the database".

    Your so called 'robust security mechanisms' should have made it impossible for the data to get out the door.

    1. Ashley_Pomeroy

      As the saying goes, "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't... something about going up against a Sicilian when death is... a bolted door, fool me twice. Shame on you", or something.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        He who lives by the sword should carry a grindstone?

  5. Aoyagi Aichou
    Big Brother

    "Local media outlet reported the breach ahead of T-Mobile's statement."

    That outlet's parent company is owned by the Czech minister of finances, who also happens to be one of the richest people in the country (I guess this is what you call an oligarch). He probably just needed some data for his tax collection reform.

  6. PaulR79

    Sometimes a half-truth is worse than a lie

    "T-Mobile Czech Republic managing director Milan Vašina says there was "no actual data leak" adding that "data are (sic) safe”. It is unclear if the company is claiming the records were for sale but remained not purchased."

    I believe what the MD is saying here is that it wasn't a leak / hack and that their system is safe. Technically true, there was no leak and their system may be safe but they lost data because someone walked out the building with it.

    To the (sic) comments above I would hazard a guess that use of "data" is in the context of "the data of our customers is safe" with an erroneous use of "are". Still, their English is likely to be better than a large portion of those who live in England and I'm referring to the native speaking lot before anyone accuses me of xenophobia.

    1. b0hem1us

      Re: Sometimes a half-truth is worse than a lie

      I used to work there and the security was tight, even if in part by obscurity. The problem is that the security people who run the cameras and physically secure the building (external contractor) do not get unauthorized data access flags as they happen so they cannot grab the culprit before he leaves the building. A common issue I suppose.

      EDIT: And yeah that PR drone is a piece of work, I bet the sleezglish is its work.

  7. oneeye

    Another Story of Rogue Employee

    This from April, Qihoo employee's had white listed malware that was bundled into some apps.

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