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COMPANY ADMITS TO SELLING CUSTOMERS’ PERSONAL INFORMATION FOR $5.7 MILLION

A Hong Kong’s company has admitted to selling its customers’ personal information since January 2006.  The company, Octopus Holdings, pocketed $5.7 million from sales of the personal information.  The e-payment services provider said it sold personal identifying information belonging to almost 2 million customers to six companies, including Cigna Worldwide Life
Insurance.

Octopus CEO, Prudence Chan, who was speaking at a private hearing with the Hong Kong Privacy Commission, was quoted as saying the company has pledged not to provide personal identifying information to other companies in future.  Octopus had previously earlier denied selling personal information during hearing by the Commission, but later retracted the denial.

Octopus’ contactless payment cards are used widely by commuters of Hong Kong’s underground trains operated by MTR, which incidentally owns 57.4 percent of Octopus shares, and also for various transactions such as fast-food outlets and convenience stores.

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