While Sony is for some reason immune to punishment for their actions in the US, the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) in the UK didn’t hold back in giving Sony a sizeable slap on the wrist (£250,000) for dropping the ball in information security. Here is a quote from ICO:
“The entertainment company Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Limited has received a monetary penalty of £250,000 from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) following a serious breach of the Data Protection Act.
The penalty comes after the Sony PlayStation Network Platform was hacked in April 2011, compromising the personal information of millions of customers, including their names, addresses, email addresses, dates of birth and account passwords. Customers’ payment card details were also at risk.
An ICO investigation found that the attack could have been prevented if the software had been up-to-date, while technical developments also meant passwords were not secure.
David Smith, Deputy Commissioner and Director of Data Protection, said:
“If you are responsible for so many payment card details and log-in details then keeping that personal data secure has to be your priority. In this case that just didn’t happen, and when the database was targeted – albeit in a determined criminal attack – the security measures in place were simply not good enough.
“There’s no disguising that this is a business that should have known better. It is a company that trades on its technical expertise, and there’s no doubt in my mind that they had access to both the technical knowledge and the resources to keep this information safe.
“The penalty we’ve issued today is clearly substantial, but we make no apologies for that. The case is one of the most serious ever reported to us. It directly affected a huge number of consumers, and at the very least put them at risk of identity theft.
“If there’s any bright side to this it’s that a PR Week poll shortly after the breach found the case had left 77 per cent of consumers more cautious about giving their personal details to other websites. Companies certainly need to get their act together but we all need to be careful about who we disclose our personal information to.”
Now for some this may not seem like enough, considering the calibre of the consequences to the PSN’s users, as well as the size of the company. Personally, I think it is a reasonable fine. Money is money, and I want to see more from Sony in gaming. Sony will need all the money they can get with a huge finger pointing at the PS Vita’s lack of sales, so hopefully this fine isn’t too big of a financial setback.
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