Given that the Channel 4 report made headlines around the world, Nilekani's answer surprised me somewhat. But he's confident that potential customers who perform in-depth due diligence on Infosys will find that there's little cause for concern. "We have extremely high security standards, and we are constantly doing reviews and audits by third parties," said Nilekani.
He believes other major outsourcers in India are equally fastidious about protecting customer data--and with good reason. "This is a multibillion-dollar business for us. We certainly cannot afford any risks to our credibility or have our trustworthiness impugned in any way," Nilekani told me. In other words, outsourcing is India's golden goose, and the industry isn't about to let it be killed off by security breaches.
Nilekani also pointed out that data theft happens everywhere, including the U.S. "This hasn't happened in India alone," he said. He's right about that. A Google search on "data breaches" will turn up hundreds of cases--in the U.S. alone. So what's all the hysteria about? Exposing corruption in far-off India makes good headlines, in the same way that stories about hunger in Africa get more ink than reports on domestic poverty. But reality goes much deeper than a headline or a sensationalistic documentary.