Europe, Middle East and Africa




Major Internet Retail Site Admits Data Breach
Privacy and Data Protection

ZDNet UK reports that Play.com has admitted that its third party marketing communications provider has experienced a data breach, possibly exposing customers’ email addresses to spammers. However, credit card details and other sensitive personal information was reportedly unaffected. As Play.com is reportedly based in Jersey, the matter is being dealt with by the island’s Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC). Deputy Commissioner Paul Vane reportedly said that the ODPC had asked Play.com a number of questions about data security arrangements and said that the company should have had “a robust data-processing contract … [with] the marketing agency that had the security breach”.

According to ZDNet UK, a number of Play.com customers have already complained about receiving spam emails, which they believe are related to the breach. BBC News reports that NGS Secure technical director Paul Vlissidis warned that “[o]nline businesses, even those of Play.com’s size, cannot afford the loss of reputation and customer trust that negligence of this type causes”, and urged “all organisations dealing with personal customer data to ensure comprehensive security audits have been carried out in all areas of outsourced work”.
ZDNet UK: Play.com admits data breach (22 March 2011)
BBC News: Play.com warns of customer e-mail security breach (22 March 2011)
(Source: ZDNet UK; BBC News)


Bank Head Waives Bonus Following Public Outrage
Business Ethics and Corporate Culture, Other

BBC News reports that ING chief executive Jan Hommen has agreed to waive his €1.25 million bonus following public outcry and threats by customers to boycott the bank, which received a €10 billion bailout during the global financial crisis. Mr Hommen said that ING had “underestimated” public sentiment over bonus plans and did not want to “damage the recovering confidence from customers and the general public”, reports BBC News. Mr Hommen reportedly stated that he would only be eligible for a bonus once ING repays its €5 billion state aid debt.
BBC News: ING bank chief Jan Hommen to waive bonus after outcry (22 March 2011)
(Source: BBC News)


DFSA Censures Bank for AML Failings
Anti-Money Laundering

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has issued an Administrative Censure (17 March 2011) against Saxo Bank Dubai Limited (Saxo) for failing to comply with the DFSA’s Rules relating to the on-boarding of clients and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) systems and controls.

According to the DFSA, Saxo failed to:

  • properly classify its clients;
  • obtain adequate verification of identity;
  • perform ongoing customer due diligence
  • adequately monitor client transactions; and
  • have in place appropriate systems and controls in respect of politically exposed persons.

The DFSA said that while it did not find evidence of money laundering, Saxo’s failings increased its risk of being used for the purposes of money laundering. The DFSA did not impose a financial penalty on Saxo, but the bank has agreed to pay a proportion of the DFSA’s regulatory costs.
DFSA’s media release (20 March 2011)

Related news items:
Bloomberg: Dubai Censures Saxo Bank for Breaching Money Laundering Rules (20 March 2011)
Arab News: Dubai’s financial regulator censures Saxo Bank unit (20 March 2011)
(Source: DFSA; Bloomberg; Arab News)


Consultation on Do Not Call Register
Privacy and Data Protection

The South African Government has released the National Consumer Commission’s (NCC) Request for Expression of Interest (8 March 2011), requesting feedback on proposals to establish a “registry in which any person may register a pre-emptive block for the purposes of restricting unwanted direct marketing”. The views of interested parties are important to assist the NCC in establishing such a register.

Submissions should be addressed to Prudence Moilwa and are due by 23 March 2011.
(Source: South African Government)


Renault Apologizes for False Charges of Espionage
Business Ethics and Corporate Culture, Other

Reuters reports that Renault has issued a public apology to the three executives accused of spying after prosecutor Jean-Claude found no case against them. Bank accounts allegedly belonging to the executives, Bertrand Rochette, Matthieu Tenenbaum and Michel Balthazard, and considered pivotal to the espionage charges, were found not to exist, according to Reuters. Reportedly, Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn and chief operating officer Patrick Pelata have publicly apologised to the executives and are “committed that reparations be made to the three executives, and that their honor in the public eye be restored”.
Reuters: Renault says sorry to execs over false spy claims (14 March 2011)

Related news item:
Reuters: Renault CEO under pressure after spy case unravels (15 March 2011)
(Source: Reuters)