Privacy and Data Protection

Speech: Giving Customer Better Access to Information
Europe, Middle East and Africa

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has made available a speech (20 June 2011) delivered by ICO deputy commissioner David Smith, in which he emphasises the need for banks to give customers better access to their information.
(Source: ICO)

Reports Criticise Banks
Asia Pacific

Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) Allan Chiang has released the following investigation reports and appendices (all dated 20 June 2011):

Mr Chiang said that the four investigation reports which concerned banks related to the misuse of customer information, particularly with respect to the collection and use of data, and non-compliance with opt-out requests. Some of the particular problems identified in the reports included personal information collection statements which were too small to be legible, and the disclosure of details to third parties without obtaining express consent from the customer.

Mr Chiang said that he hoped all organisations which use personal data will heed the lessons from these investigations, further stating that the decision to name the contravening bodies is intended to “invoke the sanction and discipline of public scrutiny” and “serve to encourage compliant behaviour by data users concerned and related parties”.
PCPD’s media release (20 June 2011)

Related news item:
China Daily: Banks slapped over customer privacy violations (21 June 2011)
(Source: PCPD; China Daily)

BNM Internet Scam Warning
Asia Pacific

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has issued an alert to internet banking users to be wary of recent phishing scams using BNM’s name to deceive members of the public into disclosing personal banking details. BNM advised that “[f]inancial institutions, including credit card issuers and Bank Negara Malaysia and all banking institutions will never request for personal banking information when contacting customers, be it via telephone calls, SMS or emails”, and that suspicious activities should be reported to BNM.
BNM’s media release (16 June 2011)
(Source: BNM)

Australia’s New Cybercrime Legislation

Reuters reports that the Australian government has made public new cybercrime legislation following a spate of recent attacks on multinational companies, like Google, Citigroup and the International Monetary Fund. New laws will reportedly allow Australian police and intelligence agencies improved access to information stored abroad when investigating locally committed cybercrimes. Reportedly, Australia is also in the process of developing “a cyber defence strategy to combat hacking and electronic espionage, including the growing threat posed by state-sponsored cyber attacks”, due to be unveiled in 2012.
Reuters: Australia unveils cybercrime laws to combat global threat (22 June 2011)
(Source: Reuters)

Desperately Seeking Better Data Protection

The Star reports that Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart has criticised online dating site eHarmony for allegedly failing to respond to user requests to permanently delete accounts. The site has reportedly responded to Ms Stoddart’s concerns and is “in the process of implementing policies and procedures that include a maximum retention period”. Other dating websites were also reportedly faulted for failing to have privacy policies, or for having policies which lacked crucial information in dealing with personal information.
The Star: eHarmony dating site targeted by privacy watchdog (22 June 2011)
(Source: The Star)