The speech by US Attorney General William P. Barr hardly seems earth-shattering. But buried within its business-like announcement of there is the following statement, which has huge implications for privacy:
For years, we have witnessed China’s voracious appetite for the personal data of Americans, including the theft of personnel records from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the intrusion into Marriott hotels, and Anthem health insurance company, and now the wholesale theft of credit and other information from Equifax.
The first of the intrusions that Barr mentions took place in 2014, but was only revealed in November 2018, when Marriott Hotels admitted that it had discovered there was unauthorized access to its Starwood guest reservation database. The system held details of 500 million guests, and Marriott said that for around 327 million of these guests, the information included some combination of name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date, and communication preferences.