THE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE (ICO) has smacked Marriott International with a £99m GDPR fine over last year's security breach.
Fresh from throwing a record-breaking £183m fine in the direction of British Airways, the ICO on Tuesday announced that it's continuing its power trip and slapping Marriott International with a hefty fine of £99,200,396, to be precise.
The penalty relates to the mega-breach the hotel chain fessed up to in November last year. While, at the time, Marriott said the breach affected 500 million customers, the ICO's probing has revealed that a total of 339 million guest records globally were exposed, of which seven million related to British visitors.
Information stolen during the breach, which began when the systems of the Starwood hotels group were compromised in 2014, some combination of name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest account information and date of birth.
For some, the pilfered info also included payment card numbers and expiration dates, with Mariott admitting in November that those numbers were encrypted.
The ICO said that its investigation found that "Marriott failed to undertake sufficient due diligence when it bought Starwood and should also have done more to secure its systems."
Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: "The GDPR makes it clear that organisations must be accountable for the personal data they hold. This can include carrying out proper due diligence when making a corporate acquisition, and putting in place proper accountability measures to assess not only what personal data has been acquired, but also how it is protected.
"Personal data has a real value so organisations have a legal duty to ensure its security, just like they would do with any other asset. If that doesn't happen, we will not hesitate to take strong action when necessary to protect the rights of the public."
The company said it intended to respond and "vigorously defend" its position.
"We are disappointed with this notice of intent from the ICO, which we will contest," said Marriott International president and chief executive officer Arne Sorenson.
"Marriott has been cooperating with the ICO throughout its investigation into the incident, which involved a criminal attack against the Starwood guest reservation database.
"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." µ
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