Bingo Data Thief Gets Slap On the Wrist

Bingo operators go to great lengths to protect customer data. Bingo operators use state of the art security programs to make sure all online transactions are safe and secure. Generally player data is protected from hackers but there is one thing that bingo operators cannot protect players from; a dishonest employee. Last spring an employee, Marc Ben-Ezra, stole player data and openly offered it for sale to various contacts in the online gambling industry. Ben Ezra approached Cashcade with the stolen data and Cashcade hired a private detective agency to investigate.

Ben Ezra stole the data while working for an Israeli poker firm three years ago but didn’t offer it for sale until 2011. Investigators purchased a set of data from Ben Ezra or £1700 and then gave the information to the U.K. Information Commissioner (ICO). ICO agents traced Ben Ezra’s address using emails which led them to a business owned by Ben Ezra’s father in law. Reports indicate that Ben Ezra was planning to use the money to pay gambling debts. Ben Ezra offered the details of 400 Foxy online bingo players as a sample and indicated that he had the details of thousands of online bingo players.  It has been estimated that Ben Ezra had the personal information for 65,000 online bingo players.

Fortunately no Foxy bingo players were harmed thanks to the timely investigation. All of the players affected by the criminal activity were notified and many in the online bingo industry urged players to change usernames and passwords. ICO Commissioner Christopher Graham praised the way Cashcade handled the case. In 1998 the UK introduced the Data Protection Act to help consumers control who has their personal information and how it can be used. The law clearly spells out the rights of consumers.

Ben Ezra has been sentenced and the slap on the wrist he received has sparked outrage in the online bingo community. Ben Ezra was given a three year non custodial sentence. He was ordered to pay damages of £1,700 and was assessed a small fine of £830.80. Information Commissioner Christopher Graham was not pleased with the light sentence and has been pushing for more stringent punishments for data thefts. Graham believes that data thieves should face prison time and heavy fines and some members of Parliament agree and are planning on introducing legislation that would impose stricter penalties. ICO commissioner Graham told reporters “We still don’t have a punishment that fits the crime. The ICO continues to push for the government to activate the 2008 legislation that would allow courts to consider other penalties like community service orders or the threat of prison.”

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