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compliance and privacy

PL&B International E-news, Issue 41
February 20th, 2006

© Privacy Laws & Business 2006

1. Honeywell investigates major security breach
2. Hackers attack Greek government mobile phones
3. ChoicePoint receives largest civil penalty in FTC history
4. Nicole Kidman's paparazzo avoids giving DNA sample
5. Review of Australian Privacy Act 1998
6. US Bill would force websites to delete personal information
7. IAPP hosts national summit in Washington, DC
8. PL&B offers Binding Corporate Rules & HR privacy workshop

1. Honeywell investigates major security breach

Industrial and aerospace conglomerate Honeywell International is investigating a major security incident in which the personal details of around 19,000 current and former employees were posted on the Internet. The personal information included Social Security numbers and bank account information. It is not known whether the incident was the result of an administrative error, or something more sinister. Honeywell is currently working with federal and state investigators in order to establish the cause.


2. Hackers tap Greek government mobile phones
The Greek government revealed earlier this month that unidentified eavesdroppers have been tapping the mobile phones of the Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, as well as five cabinet members and dozens of top officials. Illegal software installed at Vodafone Greece, the country's second largest mobile phone operator, had allowed calls to and from approximately 100 phones to be recorded. Prosecutors have brought charges of violating the privacy of telephone communications against unknown perpetrators.

Source: Reuters

3. ChoicePoint receives largest civil penalty in FTC history
ChoicePoint, a publicly traded company based in Atlanta, has been ordered to pay $10 million in civil penalties - the largest civil penalty in FTC history - and $5 million in consumer redress to settle FTC charges that its security and record-handling procedures violated consumers' privacy rights and federal laws. Last year, the company admitted that the personal, financial records of more than 163,000 consumers in its database had been compromised. It has been ordered to implement new procedures, as well as a comprehensive information security programme, and to obtain audits by an independent third party every other year until 2026.

Copies of the complaint and stipulated final judgment can be found at

4. Nicole Kidman's paparazzo avoids giving DNA sample
A photographer successfully challenged a Magistrate's order requiring him to provide a DNA sample because of his suspected involvement in planting a listening device outside actress Nicole Kidman's home. The New South Wales Supreme Court ruled that there were no reasonable grounds to suspect the photographer.

5. Review of Australian Privacy Act 1998
The Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, announced, at the end of January, that the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) will review the Privacy Act 1998. The review will examine existing Commonwealth, State and Territory laws and practices and will consider the needs of individuals for privacy protection in the light of technological developments. The review is due for completion by March 31 2008.

6. US bill would force websites to delete personal information
A bill recently announced in Congress would require every website operator in the US to delete information about visitors, including e-mail address, if the data is no longer required for a “legitimate” business purpose. It is hoped that the move would help to reduce the occurrence of identity theft, since it would mean less data being needlessly stored, awaiting potential compromise by data thieves or fraudsters.


7. IAPP hosts national summit in Washington, DC
The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) is hosting a conference in Washington, DC, on March 8-10. Keynote speakers include David J. Brailer, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the Department of Health and Human Services; Christophe Pallez, Secretaire General de la CNIL, France; Brad Smith, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Microsoft; and Johnathan Zittrain, Co-Founder Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School.


8. PL&B offers Binding Corporate Rules & HR privacy workshop
PL&B has organised a workshop on BCRs and HR privacy, to take place on Wednesday March 8, at the offices of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary in Washington. Topics covered will include General Electric's BCR program for international transfers of personal data. Speakers from GE, Accenture, Kodak, Linklaters and McDonald's.

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