Repeat Likely with Millions of Dollars of Motive

First published: 19th October 2010

Can the chief counsel of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner explain why she does not consider a substantial amount of money to be motive to break the law again? (Oct. 19, "Octopus escapes penalty for selling data")

From a business standpoint, Octopus Cards made tens of millions of dollars from the sale of the data. If the Privacy Commissioner had issued an enforcement notice, Octopus would face fines or jail for another violation. However, in the current situation, Octopus could sell the data again, and the worst possibly penalty would be an enforcement notice. The rational business decision in this situation is to repeat the violation until an enforcement notice is issued, naturally apologising abjectly on each repeat.

The enforcement notice arrangement already makes the Privacy Commissioner toothless, but now he is not even trying to chew.


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