Recent prosecutions in relation to breaches of data protection legislation are proving to be costly to businesses and is a reminder for organisations and companies to ensure compliance. In February 2012 three large insurance companies pleaded guilty in the Dublin District Court to ten charges of breaches of the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 (as amended) (the “DPA”) in respect of unfairly processing and obtaining personal data. The case concerned the instruction of private investigators and information being obtained from the Department of Social Protection. The companies agreed to each pay €20,000 to charity and to pay the Data Protection Commissioners legal costs. The judge decided to apply the Probation Act if the donations were made by a certain date. More recently in September 2012 EMobile and Meteor also pleaded guilty in the Dublin District Court to offences under the DPA. They were ordered to pay €15,000 to both the Laura Lynn Foundation and Pieta House. The charges were made in relation to failing to protect personal data, through two unencrypted laptops being stolen, and failing to notify the office of the Data Protection Commissioner within the prescribed two days of the breach. If you require further information on data protection legislation please contact George Kennedy, Solicitor, Corporate and Commercial Department.