HKBN pays for calling unwilling customer2015.09.17
AN internet service company was fined HK$30,000 for using personal customer information for marketing purposes, after the customer had instructed it not to do so.
Hong Kong Broadband Network (香港寬頻網 絡有限公司) received the punishment after telephoning the customer and leaving a promotional message.
The company was accused of having failed “to comply with the requirement from a data subject to cease to use his personal data in direct marketing”.
It pleaded not guilty to the charge, but was convicted after trial. The case is the first conviction after the penalty level of the offence was raised under the new direct marketing regulatory regime – from a fine of HK$10,000 to a fine of HK$500,000 and imprisonment for three years.
The changes, made under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (個人資料（私隱）條例》), took effect on 1 April 2013. The court was told that a subscriber contacted the company via e-mail and mail in April 2013 to make an optout request after learning about the amended provisions.
The company acknowledged the request.
But a month later the subscriber received a voice message from HKBN, informing him of the termination of his service contract while promoting their services.
The company said the call was to remind the customer his contract was about to expire.
But magistrate Debbie Ng Chung-yee said the reminder was merely used to start the conversation. The true purpose was to influence the customer to renew his contract.
(The Standard, September 10, 2015)