FBD, Zurich and Travelers plead guilty to 10 sample charges of breaching the Data Protection Act

private data

FBD, Zurich and Travelers have pleaded guilty to getting private investigators to spy on individuals and obtaining social welfare information.

All three offered to make donations of €20,000 to charity for breaching the Data Protection Act in Ireland.

Their spying began to unravel in December 2010 when prosecutions followed a complaint from the Department of Social Protection after it noticed an unusual pattern of access to its database by an official, who had also been making phone calls to two specific numbers, says the Irish Times.

The trail led to a private investigator working for the insurance companies.

Information found at the insurance firms, which the department subsequently confirmed was from its records, included individuals’ dates of birth, PPS numbers, addresses, employment history and information on claims made from the department. In a number of cases the files also included information on spouses.

The three companies pleaded guilty to 10 samples of data protection breaches at Dublin District Court.