The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (deputy director Gary Davis is pictured) took the unprecedented case against FBD Insurance, Zurich Insurance and Travelers Insurance Company.
Donegaldaily.com broke the story a year ago (http://www.donegaldaily.com/2011/01/26/details-on-hundreds-of-people-may-have-been-leaked-by-donegal-civil-servant/)
The ongoing investigation into the alleged unlawful leaking of information is being conducted by gardai in Letterkenny.
There have been no arrests.
Yesterday’s case was heard at Dublin District Court where assistant data protection commissioner Tony Delaney described the breaches as “very, very serious”.
He said the case centred on 15 unnamed individuals whose information was obtained but this was just a sample of numerous data breaches uncovered by the OPDC.
Following a tip-off from the department, the office of Reliance Investigation Services was searched in December 2010 and files, including their “active client list”, were examined.
The three insurance companies were identified as clients from VAT numbers on invoices for services provided by the detective agency.
Each of the insurance companies yesterday offered to make a €20,000 donation to charity in a show of remorse and agreed to pay the legal costs of the data commissioners.
Judge Ann Ryan accepted the offer and directed that the companies donate the money to the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin.
When we broke the story Mr Davis told us that TWO private investigators and a number of financial institutions were being examined as part of their investigation.
“This is the biggest investigation we have undertaken. We can confirm it involves one individual passing on information to a private investigator whom we believe passed on this information to a number of third parties.
“The investigation is still ongoing so we are limited to what we can say at the moment. I can confirm that two private investigators and a number of financial institutions have been visited as part of our investigation process,” he said at the time.