O2’s claims that it has “a rigorous data-cleansing process in place” have been dismissed as bunkum after the company was forced to apologise to a British-Iraqi family living in North London who received mailshots addressed to “Mr Isis Terroriste” and “Mr Getout Ofengland”.
The letters which were delivered last summer but have only just come to light, contained free pay-as-you-go Sim cards ordered online by an unknown third party. It is claimed the family had presumed they were “junk mail”, and only recently read the envelopes.
The family told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Programme: “We were really saddened to come across these letters, especially having a younger child in the house who we don’t want to grow up witnessing such hateful language.
“It’s even sadder to think that such hate speech has become normalised, despite living in such a uniquely multicultural and diverse city like London.”
The Muslim Council of Britain said the “Islamophobia” was deeply concerning.
When asked for comment, O2 claimed its Sim card postage and printing was managed by a third-party partner – which it refused to name – and was automated.
The mobile giant insisted that human checks were in place but only once a query had been identified. And in this case no query had been raised before postage. The company said it would be working with this partner to review the entire process as a result of this issue – including where human checking was used.
O2 added that it “has a rigorous data-cleansing process in place to prevent any of our free products being sent to addresses with obscenities or offensive names, and so this is a rare occurrence. If the family decide to report this case, we will work closely with the police as part of their investigation”.
An industry insider said: “O2 should be hanging its head in shame. With all the data cleansing products on the market, this sort of thing is easily flagged up way before it even gets to the postage stage. To claim it has rigorous process in place is utter bunkum.”
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