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Fashion retailer H&M says data protection breaches unacceptable

STOCKHOLM/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Fashion retailer H&M <HMb.ST> said on Saturday that data security breaches found at its German unit were unacceptable and it was cooperating with the local data protection supervisory authority in its investigation into the matter.

“The local team has taken a range of action and is in close dialogue with all colleagues”, an H&M spokeswoman said in a statement. “Since the incident is in legal examination … we cannot further comment on that at the moment.”

Earlier German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that the State Data Protection Commissioner in Hamburg, Johannes Caspar, had started a probe into H&M management on unlawfully sounding out workers about their personal life and storing the details.

The commissioner was not available for comment.

According to the newspaper, H&M collected information on illnesses and other personal circumstances of employees at the H&M Customer Center for Germany and Austria.

“The qualitative and quantitative extent of the employee data accessible to the entire management level of the company shows a comprehensive research of the employees, which is without comparison in recent years,” Caspar was quoted saying by the paper.

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom and Arno Schuetze; Editing by David Holmes)

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