The Personal Data Protection Office (GPDP) reveals in its latest annual report that it probed 141 cases of suspected privacy protection violations last year, compared to 118 cases in 2012, up 19.5 percent.
The report, in both Portuguese and Chinese, was released on the office’s website yesterday.
According to the report, some 62.4 percent of the 141 cases investigated by the office last year were suspected of “illegally using personal information,” while the remaining cases involved breaching official guidelines for dealing with personal data, failing to protect the rights of people who provide personal data and lacking data protection measures.
The office said in the report that some 77 percent of the 141 cases it investigated involved private entities, 11.5 percent involved public entities and 11.5 percent involved individuals, adding that the office only finished investigating 59 of last year’s 141 cases.
The office also said that it completed probing another 44 cases last year which the office started investigating in 2012 thus it completed probes on a total of 103 cases, according to the report.
Among the 103 cases the investigations of which were completed last year, the office fined the entities involved in eight of the cases, while it gave its opinions on 51 cases to the entities involved on how to improve the way they deal with personal data. The remaining cases lacked proof of who was at fault, according to the report.
According to the report, in one particularly shocking case, a company was fined 6,000 patacas as it kept sending advertising messages to residents who had provided their personal data when applying for a “loyalty card” although the complainant had asked the company to stop. The company did not respond and it also ignored a letter from the GPDP regarding the matter. In another flagrant case, a shop was fined 4,000 patacas for releasing clients’ names and mobile phone numbers on a social networking site. A local association was fined 4,000 patacas for continually sending text messages to mobile phone users about their activities, despite residents complaining about receiving the information. (macaunews/macaupost)