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Poll: Readers' Attitudes About Offshore Outsourcing

Over the past few months, I ran an informal poll on this blog asking readers about their attitudes toward offshore outsourcing. While corporations are good at assembling resources and products from various geographic areas to deliver low-priced goods to consumers, a seldom discussed aspect is that corporations also transmit customers' sensitive information between offices and vendors in several countries.

Consumers are well aware of offshore outsourcing when they talk with a customer service representative who clearly has an accent and is located in another country. Many offshore outsourcing activities are hidden from consumers and customers when those activities are performed in back-office or support operations. I explored in a four-part blog series the issues with offshore outsourcing by the major credit reporting agencies. For example, when consumers submit via paper corrections to their credit reports, those corrections are often entered by staff or vendors located in other countries.

With all of this in mind, I asked I've been Mugged readers to select the statement which best describes their attitudes about offshore outsourcing and consumers' credit information. Here are there responses:

  • 14% of respondents felt that companies should not perform offshore outsourcing under any circumstances
  • An equal number (14%) felt that offshore outsourcing is okay generally, but shouldn't be used for financial and credit information
  • The greatest number of respondents (36%) felt that companies should notify customers if they perform offshore outsourcing and customers should have a choice to opt-out
  • Far fewer respondents (9%) felt that companies should notify customers if the company's offshore outsourcing includes customers' sensitive data
  • 18% of respondents felt that U.S. Congress needs to do more about offshore outsourcing (e.g., legislation for oversight, auditing, data breach notification, etc.)
  • 5% felt that credit monitoring services shouldn't perform offshore outsourcing
  • 5% don't care whether companies perform offshore outsourcing or not

What to make of these results? First, this was an informal poll. So, it captured the opinions of only I've been Mugged blog readers. Readers of this blog are consumers who have been affected by identity theft, fraud with bank accounts, fraud with their credit reports, and/or data breach victims.

So, the readership of this blog is somewhat of a self-selecting group that has an interest and knowledge about privacy and their sensitive personal information. For the results to be applicable to the entire U.S. population, the survey participants should have included a random selection from the broader U.S. population.

Second, I believe these results are directional in that consumers want to be informed and want control over their sensitive personal information. It was not surprising to me that the greatest number of respondents (36%) felt that companies should both notify customers if they perform offshore outsourcing and provide their customers with an opt-out mechanism.

This indicates that consumers want to be notified and want control over who has access to their sensitive personal information. The company-customer relationship is built on trust. This sensitive customer information It is not for corporate executives to treat as if it is theirs alone.

Like it or not, companies will have to recognize and deal with this reality.

Comments

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Greet Verellen

you have given nice over view about reader's attittude on offshore outsourcing. Thanks for sharing this information. This is really nice one.

Sitikantha Pattnaik

Your blog shows as you have done a great research on offshore outsourcing. It is nice to see people's mix reaction on this topic. People are really sesitive about their personal information and someway their insecure feeling is right.

William Pittman

I am very interested in your post. The information in your post is very benefitable for me. Thanks for share this post.

Mark

Thanks for the great blog on outsourcing. I own a Portland Oregon Call Center and I'm sure my employees and I will find your information very helpful. We provide cost-effective options for companies to outsource any of their call center needs. Keep up the good work.

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