HomeInsightsInformation Commissioner’s Office to fine Marriott International Inc more than £99 million under GDPR for data breach

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On 9 July 2019 the ICO published a statement, in response to Marriott International Inc’s filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, that the ICO intends to fine Marriott for breaches of data protection law.

The ICO explains that following an extensive investigation it issued a notice of its intention to fine Marriott International £99,200,396 for infringements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The proposed fine relates to a cyber incident that was notified to the ICO by Marriott in November 2018. A variety of personal data contained in approximately 339 million guest records globally were exposed by the incident, of which around 30 million related to residents of 31 countries in the European Economic Area (EEA). Seven million related to UK residents.

The ICO says that it is believed the vulnerability began when the systems of the Starwood hotels group were compromised in 2014. Marriott subsequently acquired Starwood in 2016, but the exposure of customer information was not discovered until 2018. The ICO’s investigation found that Marriott failed to undertake sufficient due diligence when it bought Starwood and should also have done more to secure its systems.

The ICO says that Marriott has co-operated with the ICO investigation and has made improvements to its security arrangements since these events came to light. The company will now have an opportunity to make representations to the ICO as to the proposed findings and sanction.

The ICO has been investigating this case as lead supervisory authority on behalf of other EU Member State data protection authorities. It has also liaised with other regulators. Under the GDPR “one stop shop” provisions the data protection authorities in the EU whose residents have been affected will also have the chance to comment on the ICO’s findings.

The ICO says that it will consider carefully the representations made by the company and the other concerned data protection authorities before it takes its final decision. To read the ICO’s statement in full, click here.