21:33 GMT27 May 2020
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    Until now, the biggest penalty for a private data breach was the £500,000 imposed on Facebook for its role in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. At the time, BA said hackers had carried out a "sophisticated, malicious criminal attack" on its website.

    British Airways is facing a record fine of £183-million ($229-million) for last year's breach of its security systems. Entrepreneur Alex Ritter explained what does this record fine mean.

    Sputnik: British Airways is facing a record fine of £183m for last year's breach of its security systems. Firstly, how significant is this story?

    Alex Ritter: It’s massive. In my opinion it is the biggest shake up to data privacy in past 20 years. Looking at the legislation and the penalty imposed on British Airways as well, in my opinion, one of the first to be made a public since those rules were introduced a year ago it's a massively high fine. In my opinion it’s a big, big story. 

    Sputnik: What does this record fine mean for British Airways going forward? For example, could we see the company suffer financially and what effect will have it on its stocks?

    Alex Ritter: Well I'm not sure about that but hopefully they have learned from lessons that people's personal data is its just personal. You have to be very careful of what you do with the data and if that data is breached. I think every company has to look within its own cyber security, but also what to do with unstructured data.

    A lot of companies they can close the gates and that's not always of course 100% fool proof but most failures as you know are human failures with the unstructured and unprotected data within companies. In my opinion, this will probably follow more companies in Europe which clarifies my opinion.

    Sputnik: When we look at companies, particularly British Airways, now they're a massive company with incredibly high levels of profit; you'd expect them to invest into their cyber security system to protect individual’s data. Do you think enough of these large companies are actually investing a significant amount of money to protect from data leaks and cyber-attacks?

    Alex Ritter: To be honest? No, they don't and you can see the British Airways breach as well as that it wasn't really a breach but it was really massive last year. In my opinion, companies don't invest enough to get their cyber security straight. For this example, the ICO the power right now to give a fine and it's 1.5% of its overall turnout for British Airways in 2017. That's less than the possible maximum of 4% so hopefully, companies will follow this and that will take action to print it.

    Sputnik: Will we see any further repercussions taken against British Airways? For example, can we see criminal prosecutions on the back of this fine?

    Alex Ritter: I'm not quite sure about that. I think British Airways are already doing their best to secure the data and they mentioned this to the ICO. They followed the law and that's good, but I'm quite sure that a lot of companies will follow with this kind of data breaches that are happening so much today. This is not going to be the only company that's going to have a fine from the ICO and from the other regulations, regulators in Europe. In Holland, we've got about 800 data breaches recorded so it's not going to be the only one in my opinion.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    fine, data breach, British Airways, U.K
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