Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More Ryanair litigation against flight resellers - this time with a data protection twist

You might have noticed that Ryanair is busy with litigation against services which screenscrape flight details from its site or act as resellers of its flights. (Previously on this blog 1|2|3|4|5.) Usually those cases have centered on arguments that this activity amounts to a breach of either Ryanair's intellectual property rights in their site or their terms of use. However Ryanair has now added an interesting data protection dimension to its claims in a fresh action against Club Travel. From today's Irish Times:
RYANAIR HAS claimed before the High Court that details about people who book its flights through a package holiday website can be seen by other travellers.

The airline is seeking an injunction stopping Club Travel from selling its flights on the grounds that it amounts to wrongful interference with its copyright and database. Club Travel denies the claims. Because of the way Club sells the flights, customers who book through it have access to information about other travellers’ flights and know when they will be out of the country, Ryanair alleges.

Club customers, it claims, are told not to input their own email address but a specific address which belongs to Club. As a result, Club customers may access details of other passengers who booked flights the same way, Martin Hayden SC, for Ryanair, argued.

This gives access to information about when other people who booked the flight are abroad and when their homes are unoccupied, counsel said.

Ryanair said it was also concerned that, for the cost of changing a name on a flight, a person who has such access can change the name, address and passport details on another traveller’s flight and obtain that person’s boarding card, he said.

These were serious data protection issues which could expose Ryanair to penalties, he said.

1 comment:

  1. More than anything, that sounds like bad PR for club travel.. but it sounds way too naive of Club if true. That would seem like really bad website programming.

    How are Club getting around the Ryanair v. decision? Especially since the terms of use on the Ryanair site now require an active confirmation before progressing from the home page.