A New Charge Against Outsourcing

An interesting new strategy claims that outsourcing is unsafe.

FIRST they steal our jobs, then our credit-card numbers. Those seem to be the fears inspired by outsourcing back-office financial-services work to India. In both Europe and America, the argument that outsourcing costs jobs at home still has political resonance. But it is making way for another bogey: that India cannot offer the standards of privacy and data protection that consumers expect at home. Outsourcing is dangerous and perhaps even illegal. Both claims seem dubious.

They have come together in a complaint to Britain's information commissioner, the data-protection watchdog, by a customer of Lloyds TSB, a big British bank. The bank is accused of breaking the law by failing to secure its customers' explicit consent before sending personal information outside Europe.

If it is a valid argument, fine. But if it is just more rhetoric to prevent outsourcing, all that will happen is we will sacrifice short-term employment for long-term uncompetitiveness.