Sony fined £250,000 over data breach

Sony has been fined £250,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) under the Data Protection Act for a data breach on its Playstation network in 2011.


The security breach occurred in April 2011 compromising the personal information, including users’ payment card details, dates of birth, addresses and account passwords, of millions of customers.

The ICO found the attack could have been prevented had Sony’s software been up-to-date.

David Smith, deputy commissioner and director of data protection, stressed companies’ responsibility for protecting consumers’ payment details describing Sony’s breach as “one of the most serious ever reported to us”.

He says: “The security measures in place were simply not good enough. There’s no disguising that this is a business that should have known better.

It is a company that trades on its technical expertise, and there’s no doubt in my mind that they had access to both the technical knowledge and the resources to keep this information safe.”

In the aftermath of the attack Sony conceded that it could have “gotten the answers needed sooner” but said the forensic analysis of the situation was “time-consuming” acknowledging that it could have acted sooner to notify the public.

Sony has issued a statement saying it disagrees with the ruling adding “there is no evidence that encrypted payment card details were accessed” and plans to appeal the judgement.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here