Marriott faces $123M fine in U.K

Marriott faces $123 million GDPR fine in the UK for last year's data breach

UK watchdog plans to fine Marriott £99m

Relating to an incident that Marriott reported in November 2018, which saw approximately 339 million guest records exposed globally, of which around 30 million related to residents of 31 countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) and seven million related to United Kingdom residents.

The planned fine can be viewed as a signal of intent from the ICO to impose heavy penalties where it believes a personal data breach resulted from non compliant security measures.

The Marriott fine is the second GDPR-related fine the ICO has announced this week.

"Organizations must be accountable for the personal data they hold", Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in the statement.

The ICO is UK's independent regulator for information rights and data protection law, protecting information rights in the public interest, as well as encouraging data privacy for individuals and openness by public entities.

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Marriott issued an update on the situation in a filing made today with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

In a statement, Marriott International's President and CEO Arne Sorenson, said that it meant to contest the fine and was "disappointed" with the notice of intent.

"We deeply regret this incident happened", said Sorenson. "We take the privacy and security of guest information very seriously and continue to work hard to meet the standard of excellence that our guests expect from Marriott".

Following an investigation, the ICO found that "Marriott failed to undertake sufficient due diligence when it bought Starwood and should also have done more to secure its systems". It also states that firms must notify authorities about breaches within 72 hours after learning about them. Personal data from 339 million guest records (30 million European citizens and 7 million United Kingdom citizens) was exposed in the incident.

The breach exposed sensitive guest data, including combinations of names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, Starwood Preferred Guest account information, date of births, genders, arrival and departure information, reservation dates, and communication preferences.

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Starwood hotels, include Trump Turnberry in Ayrshire, London's Park Lane Sheraton Grand, Westbury Mayfair and Le Meridien Piccadilly. On Monday, the agency proposed a $229 million U.S. fine against British Airways over a data breach that affected 500,000 customers. BA parent IAG SA said its fine amounts to 1.5 per cent of the airline's 2017 revenue. "The ICO is taking an aggressive stance on breaches". "We are surprised and disappointed in this initial finding from the ICO".

As later discovered, British Airways was the victim of a Magecart card scraping attack that used a web-based card skimmer to steal payment card information from the airline's customers.

"People's personal data is just that - personal", said Denham.

The proposed BA and Marriott fines are the first major data breach fines to be announced since GDPR went into full effect on May 25, 2018.

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