Bloomberg reports that electronic payment services firm Octopus Holdings has been selling customers’ personal data for four years. “Octopus cards are used like electronic cash by millions of Hong Kong people making purchases such as MTR tickets, fast-food meals and convenience store products. Customers swipe the card over a scanner to pay and top up the cards as necessary by paying cash at some businesses that accept the cards.”
[Octopus] said it has been paid HK$44 million since January 2006 for providing personal information on clients, Radio Television Hong Kong reported, citing Prudence Chan, the company’s chief executive officer.
Octopus provided 1.97 million customers’ personal particulars to six companies, including Cigna Worldwide Life Insurance Co., the broadcaster said today, citing Chan. Octopus will not give personal data to other companies in the future, RTHK said, quoting Chan.
Cigna is cooperating “fully” with the Hong Kong privacy commissioner and said “the highest controls and standards have always been maintained with the limited customer personal data provided by” Octopus, the insurer said in a statement. The privacy commissioner held a hearing into the matter today.