There’s a thriving black market for highly sensitive, personal and financial details about Australians leaked from offshore call centers operating in India, according to a report by the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

In response to the report, the office of Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock warned companies operating in Australia to take the country’s Privacy Act and its penalties seriously, regardless of where their offshore call center or IT operations are handled.

The report on the TV program Four Corners revealed that personal details of Australians were leaked from customer databases in India. These details include names, addresses telephone numbers, birth certificate details, Medicare numbers, driver’s license numbers, ATM card numbers and, in some cases, passport numbers. A transcript of the program can be found here .

The report also traced some of the data it obtained on the black market in India back to the individuals it was tied to — Australians Kevin and Dianne Poole, who were shocked by the accuracy and breadth of the personal details that ABC had obtained.

“Marital status, number of dependents, type of ID … license number. Time at this address, occupation. They know everything. Employment, job title, employer’s business name,” Dianne Poole told the program.

Asked what care was owed to customers by companies that send their business processes to low-cost destinations offshore, a senior adviser to Ruddock told Computerworld Australia that existing Australian laws, particularly the Privacy Act, covered such situations.

However, the adviser conceded that the ABC report’s revelations appear “disturbing,” adding that Ruddock would be seeking advice from the privacy commissioner on how to best address the issue.

More here.