Indian outsourcing sector sets up watchdog to stamp out data theft

NEW DELHI, April 23, 2007 (AFP) – India’s booming services and software industry Monday announced that an independent watchdog has been setup to create a “global safe-deposit vault” to halt data theft such as credit card details.

Shyamal Ghosh, a former Indian bureaucrat, was named chairman of the Self Regulatory Organisation and said the watchdog will be independent of the industry’s main lobby group, the National Association of Software and Service Companies or NASSCOM.

“We will make it so critical (to join) that more companies would like to come in than stay out, as without accreditation it will be difficult to survive in the market,” Ghosh told reporters.

The watchdog will certify that companies who voluntarily join the organisation meet data security standards designed to prevent incidents such as in June last year when an employee of global banking giant HSBC in Bangalore was charged with siphoning off 230,000 pounds (460,000 dollars) from 20 British account holders.

In September last year, a call centre employee in eastern India was arrested for using the credit card details of customers to make on-line purchases.

The incidents raised concern that India’s outsourcing industry would be shunned by fir