A Tesco contact centre worker is facing court action after being accused of stealing customer data from the supermarket giant’s Clubcard database and emailing it to himself.
Thomas Wengierow, 47, worked at Tesco’s customer services centre in Dundee, and has been charged with “knowingly or recklessly obtaining or disclosing” the data without consent on February 21 last year.
Prosecutors say he copied customer details from a database at the call centre and transferred it into an email before sending it to himself.
Wengierow did not appear at Dundee Sheriff Court to face the charge against him under the Data Protection Act on summary complaint.
Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC continued the case without plea until next week for papers to be served on Wengierow.
The case will be highly embarrasing for Tesco, which has over 15 million Clubcard customers and has consistently maintained that this data is safe, despite some customer accounts being hacked and Clubcard vouchers being stolen. It is not known how many customer details Wengierow obtained or his intended actions, although there is a soaring trade in illegal data for nuisance calls and phishing emails.
The move comes just weeks after Information Commissioner Christopher Graham reiterated his call for stronger sentencing powers for people convicted of stealing personal data.
His demands were triggered by the sentence dished out to an employee of a car rental company who was found guilty of stealing customer information that accident claims companies could use to make nuisance calls.
Sindy Nagra, 42, from Hayes, sold almost 28,000 customers’ records for £5,000. Appearing at Isleworth Crown Court on Friday, she was fined £1,000, ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge and £864.40 prosecution costs.
At the time Graham said: “We’d like to see the courts given more options: suspended sentences, community service, and even prison in the most serious cases.
“People who break the criminal law by trading in other people’s personal information need to know that they will be severely punished and could even go to prison. We’ve been pushing for this for some time. Parliament voted for it to happen more than seven years ago but it remains on a Westminster backburner. It is high time that changed.”
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