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Do you have a data breach claim against a school?

data breach solicitors

Do you have a data breach claim against a school?

Schools, colleges and universities handle lots of sensitive personal data, and it’s vital that this is kept safe. Especially where children are involved. However, all too often, educational organisations either aren’t are aware of their obligations or haven’t done enough to ensure that they meet them.

If you or a member of your family has suffered damage or distress caused by a school, college or university breaching any part of the Data Protection Act, you could have the right to claim compensation.

Has your child’s school failed to keep your data safe?

Schools must keep information secure and prevent breaches. Where schools fail to keep this information safe the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can issue fines, and you might have a claim for compensation.

For example, photos and videos of your child taken by the school may be covered by data protection legislation, and you should be told why they are needed and where they will be used. You should also be asked to provide your consent for these to be used.  Likewise, sending information to estranged parents who do not live together without the appropriate permissions could result in a data breach.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is set to be introduced later this year, extends data protections even further. For example, schools and universities will be banned from making exam results public without the consent of students.

There are even greater legal protections in place for Sensitive Personal Identifiable Information (SPII) such as name, date of birth, address, race or ethnicity, religious beliefs, physical or mental health, sexuality, criminal offences, etc.

Has your child’s school collected or used your data without your consent?

 Schools must comply with fair processing/privacy notices. This means that they must set out the data they require, tell you why they need it, and obtain your consent to collect and use this data.

Under the GDPR all consent must be “freely given” with separate approvals provided for different processing purposes. There must also be a “positive and unambiguous indication of agreement”, so no agreement can be assumed from silence, inactivity, or pre-ticked boxes. Also, your consent can be withdrawn at any time.

If data is being passed on to a third party (e.g. other parents, schools, social services, etc.), you also must be told why and give your consent, even if the information has been requested by a public body (e.g. the police). Failure to do this could be a breach of data protection rules, give rise to significant fines, and open up schools to compensation claims. The only exception to this rule is where a failure to share information may place a child at risk of harm.

Has your child’s school refused or ignored an information access request?

 Pupils have the right to see their personal information if they ask for it. However, parents and guardians don’t have the right to access their children’s personal data (apart from their educational records) unless they have consent from the child, or the child is unable to act on their own behalf.

Is the data held on you and your child out of date?

 Schools must make sure any data held is up-to-date. To do this, they should carry out regular information audits and ask you to check that your details are correct. If a school keeps data for longer than it is needed, then it will violate the Data Protection Act.

Has your school told you about a data breach?

Your school must have robust procedures for detecting, reporting, and investigating any data breaches. Should a breach occur, they are legally obligated to tell the ICO without “undue delay.”

Can you make a data breach claim against a school?

Where a school fails in its data protection obligations, and you suffer some form of damage (financial or physical) or distress as a result, we can help you make a claim. Our professional, friendly team will advise you on whether you have a valid claim against a school, college or university. If you are not sure whether your sensitive information has been misused or mishandled, we can find this out for you.

If we believe you have a substantial, complex case, we may be able to act for you on a NO WIN, NO FEE basis. With strict time limits in place for making a data breach claim against an educational body (currently all breaches going back six years could be subject to a claim), it’s important to act now.

CONTACT US AND START YOUR EDUCATIONAL DATA BREACH CLAIM TODAY

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