Citibank Hong Kong has been fined HK$10,000

Citibank Hong Kong has been found guilty of violating the Personal Data Privacy Ordinance (PDPO).

The bank plead guilty to committing a direct marketing offence involving violating the PDPO. The bank failed to comply with a requirement from a data subject who requested to cease using his personal data in direct marketing.

The Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) received a complaint in 2016. The complainant had applied for a credit card online and had explicitly opted out of the use of his personal data in direct marketing, however despite opting-out the complainant still received a digital marketing call from the bank two months later.

As a result the PCPD took action against the bank. Under PDPO, data users receiving a customer’s request for cessation of personal data in marketing must comply with the request without charge or face penalties of up to HK$500,000 and imprisonment of up to three years for non-compliance.

Privacy Commissioner Stephen Kai-yi Wong said:

To avoid causing nuisance to customers, organisations should maintain an opt-out list with customers who do not wish to receive further marketing approaches.

“The opt-out list should be updated regularly and distributed to the staff members of relevant departments in a timely manner. Standing procedures with regard to accessing and updating the opt-out list should be in place, with appropriate training provided to staff members as well.”

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