The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has recently announced two significant fines after a lengthy review following the data breach incidents at British Airways and Marriott International.
The information rights regulator announced two substantial fines for British Airways in September, fining the airline £20m, followed a week ago by an announcement that Marriott International faces an £18.4m penalty.
Kingsley Hayes, head of data breach at Keller Lenkner UK, commented: “The ICO has taken a methodical approach to investigating each of these breaches before imposing a final fine. While British Airways faces the largest data breach penalty to date, followed closely by Marriott International, both organisations will be paying significantly less than the originally proposed figures.
“The Information Commissioner’s Office has considerably reduced the BA fine from £183m while Marriott will be paying £18.4m instead of £99m.
“The financial impact of the pandemic was taken into consideration, alongside the extensive co-operation of both businesses, which purport to have implemented improved security systems to prevent a recurrence.
“The message to businesses remains clear, protect customers’ private information or face hefty consequences. While both BA and Marriott may have successfully avoided far heavier fines, the reputational damage is an additional hidden cost.
“Both will have suffered serious financial losses during the pandemic. While the ICO is taking the Covid circumstances into consideration, it has shown that organisations will still be held accountable for failing to have the appropriate security measures in place.
“Businesses are required to securely collect, store and process personal data – this includes being responsible for the security of private information throughout its supply chain.”
Keller Lenkner UK helps individuals secure compensation following data protection breaches and other cyber offences such as computer fraud, identity theft, defamation, hacking and phishing scams.
The firm is currently representing more than 4,000 individuals in data breach actions against Equifax, Marriott International, TeamSport, British Airways, Dixons Carphone and the Police Federation of England and Wales amongst others.