UK: ICO – British Airways get its wings clipped

2B Advice
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) fined British Airways 204 million euros (equivalent to about 183 million British pounds). This amount corresponds to approximately 1.5 percent of the airline's worldwide annual turnover in 2018.

The reason for the draconian punishment was a cyber attack in 2018, in which personal data (ID number, address, date of birth) and all credit card information on half a million passengers were stolen from the BA systems..

The weak security precautions taken against data theft made this mass theft possible in the first place, which is precisely why Elizabeth Denham, the British Information Commissioner,  was not amused by the incident. The GDPR’s aim is to protect personal data. According to Denham, if those responsible do not try to provide this protection, they are breaking the law and these violations will now be fully sanctioned.

Alex Cruz (chief executive and chairman of British Airways) and Willie Walsh (CEO of International Airlines Group, BA’s parent company) were dismayed by the fine. In their opinion, the data was had misused and no damage was caused to individuals. They believe that the amount of the fine is unjustified and announced measures to contest it.

But so far, they have not been able to prove their view.

British Airways' share price also reacted and immediately dropped by around 1 percent.

The example of British Airways illustrates that the European supervisory authorities are now starting to impose penalties and that the deadline for companies to implement the GDPR has expired.

Take our advice: TAKE DATA PROTECTION SERIOUSLY! We will be glad to help you.

Photo: © igor - Fotolia

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