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Watchdog washes hands of Lush hack

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The Information Commissioner's Office is facing criticism today for its failure to punish online retailer Lush for losing 5,000 customer debit and credit card details

Lush, home to fruit-based soaps, shampoos and bath bombs, was forced to temporarily shut its website after losing the details late last year.

It advised punters who'd made purchases through the site between 4 October 2010 and 20 January 2011 to check their accounts for fraudulent use of cards.

But the ICO is happy to have got Lush to sign a letter promising to obey the law in future.

Lush received 95 customer complaints before it acted.

The ICO said the soap seller failed to keep proper records of suspicious activity on its website which meant there were delays in stopping the breach and protecting customers.

SecurEnvoy's co-founder Steve Watts said: “What we have here is a major e-commerce Web portal - run by a consumer-friendly company that prides itself on its eco-friendly products and stance generally – that was solidly hacked for four months over the busy Christmas period, and essentially has got away scot-free,”

He said the lack of punishment showed the weakness of UK data protection law - "if the watchdog that enforces the rules feels it cannot penalise a company whose database has been hacked for 120 days without its IT staff being aware of the incursion."

The European Commission is taking the UK government to court for failing to adequately protect the data of UK citizens. ®

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