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Indian call center worker arrested

In a new case of alleged data theft, Indian police have arrested a call center employee in the outsourcing hub of Gurgaon.

NEW DELHI--Police have arrested a call center worker for alleged theft of personal customer information that the firm was handling for its clients.

The arrest was made after the call center, Saffron Global, reported the matter to the police. Company officials said the worker was found copying personal information about customers onto a compact disc.

The employee has been booked under various provisions of the Information Technology Act and the Indian Penal Code. He appeared in a local court on Tuesday and was placed in judicial custody for 14 days.

The call center did not reveal the names of its foreign clients, though, according to its Web site, Saffron has handled work for American and British companies. Among its U.S. clients are a long-distance telecommunications service, a cable and Internet services provider and a food products company.

The incident comes after two recent undercover operations by foreign media revealed that customer data of foreign clients was available for a price. Legal proceedings have not begun in those cases, however, because no formal complaints have been booked. The Indian trade body Nasscom has asked the media outlets involved to provide details about their investigations so that a formal complaint can be filed.

The Indian Prime Minister has ordered a review of data protection laws to make them more stringent, while Nasscom is working to set up a national registry of employees engaged in the outsourcing industry. About 350,000 workers are employed nationally in the business process outsourcing, or BPO, segment of the IT industry.