The ICO have stated they intend to fine hotel group Marriott £99.2 million for a data breach that exposed the personal details of about 339 million guests.

Here are the details as reported by the BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-48928163

The incident is thought to date back to 2014 but was only discovered in 2018.

It comes a day after the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said it planned to fine British Airways £183m over a separate breach.

The size of both penalties reflects the fact that the watchdog has greater powers as a result of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force last year.

The Marriott data breach included 30 million guest records belonging to Europeans. It occurred within Starwood – a rival hotel group that Marriott acquired three years ago. The compromised guest reservation system has since been phased out.

Marriott International’s president, Arne Sorenson, said: “We are disappointed with this notice of intent from the ICO, which we will contest. Marriott has been co-operating with the ICO throughout its investigation into the incident, which involved a criminal attack against the Starwood guest reservation database.

“We deeply regret this incident happened. 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.”

The ICO said that Marriott had failed to properly review Starwood’s data practices and should have done more to secure its systems.

“The GDPR makes it clear that organisations must be accountable for the personal data they hold,” said Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham.

 

This announcement, so soon after BA’s £183m fine, shows that big fines for big breaches are ‘the new normal’. It’ll be interesting to see if these companies challenge the fines while they still can, or at least use whatever means they can to draw out the payment timeframe while they work out how to pay for them!