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October 6th, 2008

Disk Containing Data on 17 Million T-Mobile Customers Missing, The Data Is For Sale

In 2006, 17 million German customer records were stolen from T-Mobile, a mobile network operator headquartered in Bonn, Germany. T-Mobile has admitted the incident where stolen customer records included names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth and email addresses.

Silent about the data loss for more than two years, the company published its version of events on Saturday following a report in German news magazine Der Spiegel that the data were being offered for sale on the Internet. When the loss of the disk was discovered, the company reported the loss to the state prosecutor, and began monitoring Internet forums and sites where such stolen information is offered for sale.

The records included secret addresses of politicians, an ex-federal president, celebrities and others likely to be at risk from having their contact details released. No bank details were included in the stolen data.

The company said a storage device containing the files “is in the hands of unknown parties”. T-Mobile’s parent, Deutsche Telekom, said it had no evidence that the records had been used since 2006. Although the records had been offered for sale online, no one had bought them. The data for sale includes the home addresses and unlisted phone numbers of many German celebrities, business leaders, billionaires, religious representatives, government ministers and politicians. German regulators are investigating the incident.

The company said it had made every effort to get the data back and has improved procedures to stop a similar theft happening again. Deutsche Telekom apologized for the loss and has set up a hotline to deal with worried customers.

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