Consumer Protection




Bank Sued Over “Campaign of Deception”
Americas

Reuters reports that the Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) is being sued by US federal and New York state prosecutors alleging that the bank misled clients over the currency exchange rate used for foreign transactions, and cheated them out of millions of dollars. Reportedly, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has claimed that BNY Mellon engaged in a “multi-pronged campaign of deception” from 2001 onwards, inducing private and government clients to mistakenly believe that they were receiving the best rate for their foreign currency transactions. Mr Schneiderman is seeking to recover close to US$2 billion on behalf of BNY Mellon clients nationwide.
Reuters: NY prosecutors sue BNY Mellon over forex claims (5 October 2011)
(Source: Reuters)


Investigation into Sony Hacking Breach Concludes
Global

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has released the Own Motion Investigation Report: Sony PlayStation Network / Qriocity (September 2011), regarding the major data breach that affected the Sony PlayStation Network in April 2011. Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim has concluded that no breach of the Privacy Act 1988 No. 119 (Cth) occurred, as Sony had taken “reasonable steps to protect its customers’ personal information”. However, Mr Pilgrim expressed concern at the delay in informing customers of the breach, noting that timely advice can “allow individuals to take steps to mitigate the risks that arise from their information being compromised”.

Mr Pilgrim also observed that the international aspects of the case demonstrated some of the challenges posed for data protection regulators, as multiple jurisdictions may be involved.
OAIC’s media release (29 September 2011)
(Source: OAIC; Lawlex Legislative Alert & Premium Research)


Privacy Scandal Over Social Media Site Tracking
Global

The Age reports that an Australian technologist has revealed that Facebook continues to monitor users even when they have logged out from the site. Rather than deleting tracking cookies, Facebook has reportedly been found to simply modify those cookies, thereby “maintaining account information and other unique tokens that can be used to identify [people]“. Nik Cubrilovic, who made the discovery, reportedly criticised the site for failing to properly address privacy issues and threats, advising users to delete cookies to prevent the collection of their information.

The Australian reports that Facebook has claimed that the data collection is reasonable, and forms “part of a system to prevent improper logins and that the information is quickly deleted”.

However, The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reports that privacy assurances from Facebook have been “laid bare” by an October 2011 Facebook patent which describes a method “for tracking information about the activities of users of a social networking system while on another domain”. According to The SMH, the revelations have outraged Facebook users, prompting privacy advocates and consumer groups to call on the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate the company.
The Age: Facebook tracks you even after logging out (26 September 2011)
The Australian: Facebook faces privacy scandal (27 September 2011)
SMH: Facebook’s privacy lie: Aussie exposes ‘tracking’ as new patent uncovered (4 October 2011)
(Source: The Age; The Australian; SMH)


Six Convictions Over Advance Fee Fraud
Europe, Middle East and Africa

The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has announced that six individuals operating as Gresham Ltd (Gresham) have been successfully prosecuted in relation to a £4 million commercial loans advance fee fraud between 2006 and 2009. Three defendants who directed and operated the fraud, Edward Davenport, Peter Riley and Borge Anderson were convicted in May 2011 of conspiracy to defraud. On 5 October 2011, a solicitor and two professional advisors engaged by Gresham pleaded guilty to false representation and conspiracy to defraud. According to the SFO, this concludes the prosecution of the Gresham fraud, with all six defendants to be sentenced on 10 November 2011.
SFO’s media release (5 October 2011)
(Source: SFO)


Facebook Continues Tracking After Log Out
Global

The Age reports that Facebook continues to monitor users even when they have logged out from the site. Rather than deleting tracking cookies, Facebook has reportedly been found to simply modify those cookies, thereby “maintaining account information and other unique tokens that can be used to identify [people]“. Nik Cubrilovic, who made the discovery, reportedly advises users to delete cookies, though he also criticised the site for failing to properly address privacy issues and threats.

The Australian reports that Facebook has claimed that the data collection is reasonable, and forms “part of a system to prevent improper logins and that the information is quickly deleted”.
The Age: Facebook tracks you even after logging out (26 September 2011)
The Australian: Facebook faces privacy scandal (27 September 2011)
(Source: The Age; The Australian)