Hong Kong’s privacy commissioner will launch a compliance investigation to Cathay Pacific Airways Within a data breach Between 9.4 million passengers, saying the carrier Could have violated privacy Regulations.
The airline has faced criticism because of its seven-month delay in its October revelation of the breach in the data, which it stated was obtained without authorisation, following suspicious activity in its network in March.
“There are reasonable grounds to believe there may be a contravention of a requirement under the law,” Hong Kong’s Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Stephen Wong, said in a statement.
“The compliance analysis is going to examine in detail, among others, the security measures taken by Cathay Pacific to safeguard its clients’ personal data along with the airline’s data retention policy and practice,” he added.
It will also cover Cathay’s fully owned subsidiary, Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Ltd, or Dragon Air, a few of whose passengers were influenced by the violation.
A Cathay Pacific spokeswoman said in an email to Reuters that the airline was analyzing the statement and would”continue to cooperate fully with the government.”
The privacy watchdog said it had obtained 89 complaints linked to the cyber leak.
Along with 860,000 passport numbers and about 245,000 Hong Kong identity card numbers, the hackers accessed 403 expired credit card numbers and 27 credit card numbers with no card verification value (CVV), Cathay explained.
It wasn’t immediately clear who was behind the personal data breach or what the data may be used for, but Cathay said there was no evidence so far that any private information had been misused.
The controversy has spurred calls from politicians and privacy advocates for Hong Kong to revamp its legislation to make the coverage of these possible data breaches required.
Cathay’s share price originally dropped to the lowest since June 2009 after the scandal but has rebounded and recovered all of its losses.
The information breach comes amid a airline turnaround to cut costs and boost earnings, after back-to-back years of declines, so as to better compete with rivals in the Middle East, mainland China and budget airlines.
In August, Cathay Pacific posted a narrower half-year reduction on a strong rise in airfares and cargo rates and flagged expectations for a better second half, despite economic headwinds from increasing U.S.-China trade tension.