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DATA BREACH
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Human error rather than cybercrime biggest cause of self-reported data protection breaches

Human error rather than cybercrime biggest cause of self-reported data protection breaches

According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the number of reported data protection breaches has almost doubled since April this year.

The increase has happened since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25th. Under the GDPR the self-reporting of data breaches is now mandatory. As such, we can expect to see this increase in data breach reporting to continue to rise.

However, despite fears about cybercrime, human error is seven times more likely to cause data protection breaches than hackers.

According to data released under the Freedom of Information Act, out of 2,124 self-reported data breaches in 2017-18, fewer than 300 were because of cybercrime.

Common causes for these data violations include:

  • Data sent to the wrong recipient
  • Loss of theft of paperwork
  • Failure to redact data
  • Failure to use bcc when sending an email
  • Unencrypted devices being lost or stolen

Worryingly, while cybercrime is not responsible for most data protection breaches, reported cybersecurity incidents have increased by 31% over the same period. Of these attacks, malware, phishing and ransomware were the most common culprits.

Which sectors report the most data protection breaches?

The sectors most affected by data protection breaches are:

  • Healthcare with 1,214 data breach reports (this sector was already subject to self-reporting before the GDPR)
  • General business with 362 data breach reports
  • Education and childcare with 354 data breach reports
  • Local government with 328 data breach reports.

In total, taking into account self-reported breaches and complaints from elsewhere, the ICO received a staggering 21,019 data protection concerns in 2017/18.

What can you do if you are the victim of a data protection breach?

The ICO can impose hefty fines on organisations that don’t meet their obligations under the Data Protection Act. The biggest fine it has issued so far is for £400,000, but that was made before the new GDPR rules. However, the ICO does not award compensation to victims.

If you have suffered damage or distress caused by an organisation breaching any part of the Data Protection Act, you have a right to claim compensation. At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we’ve been helping people to do just that for over 50 years, so we know what it takes to make a successful data breach compensation claim.

Crucially, the law recognises the potential damage that is caused by physiological suffering. So, you can make a compensation claim if you have struggled emotionally following a data breach, even if you have not experienced any financial loss.

Our expert, friendly team will advise you on whether you have a valid claim and will be pleased to answer any questions you might have. If you are not sure whether your information has been misused or mishandled, we can find this out for you.

If we believe you have a substantial, complex case, we’ll go through your options with you and may be able to act for you on a NO WIN, NO FEE basis. For smaller claims, our quick assessment form will help you to start your claim, quickly and easily. So you can be sure of receiving your compensation in the shortest possible time.

We can help you to claim compensation for data protection breaches, data leaks, human rights breaches, and the misuse of personal information.

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we understand that making a compensation claim can be stressful; especially where your sensitive information has already been breached. That’s why we remove the jargon from the process and make sure you always know what’s happening with your case. Of course, it goes without saying that our process is fully compliant with ICO guidance and we never put your details at risk.

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Claiming compensation for distress following a data breach

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we have launched compensation claims against a number of high-profile companies that have failed to keep your personal data safe. We believe that these companies must be held to account for their failure to protect your information.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) places strict obligations on businesses to keep our data safe. And you could be entitled to compensation if an organisation fails to meet these. But did you know that you can also claim for GDPR distress as well as financial losses?

What the law says

If you have suffered damage or distress caused by an organisation breaching any part of the Data Protection Act (the UK’s interpretation of the GDPR), you have a right to claim compensation.

Crucially, you can make a compensation claim if you have struggled emotionally following a data breach, even if you have not experienced any financial loss.

When making a compensation award, the court will look at the specific circumstances of your case. This includes things like the sensitivity of the data compromised and the nature of the disclosure. However, in order to be entitled to compensation for GDPR distress you must show that you have suffered emotionally because of the breach.

A personal data breach is a 21st-century version of being burgled. If a criminal came into your home and stole your private letters you would be distressed. So why should you feel any less upset at having your online data taken; particularly when these companies gave the burglar the keys?

Why shouldn’t you seek compensation for a failure to look after your information correctly?

The emotional impact of data breaches

Some people would have us believe that claiming for GDPR distress is an overreaction. That your physiological suffering and anguish doesn’t matter. You might hear friends and family saying that, while it is acceptable to claim compensation for any financial losses, you should put up with any anxiety caused by having your information stolen.

But according to Victim Support: “The effects of crime can also last for a long time, and it doesn’t depend on how ‘serious’ the crime was. Some people cope really well with the most horrific crimes while others can be very distressed by a more minor incident”.

The sheer scale of the information we share online is enough to leave victims open to the threat of fraud. For example, with enough information, cybercriminals can steal your identity, apply for credit in your name, set up fraudulent bank accounts and access your existing accounts.

So we should all be very worried about what could happen if our data gets into the wrong hands.

What’s more, being the victim of a crime can have a substantial impact on you mentally and physically. For some people, the effects can include a lack of sleep, feeling ill, unsettled or confused. Stress can also affect your friends, your family and your job. So being told to “get over it” isn’t helpful.

Crucially, the law understands the damage that can be caused by worry and upset. So you are 100% within your rights to make a compensation claim.

Claiming for GDPR distress following a data breach

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we are committed to helping those affected by data breaches and cybercrime. And, we believe that the best way to make big companies pay for their failures is to use an expert lawyer to make a data breach compensation claim.

In addition, we also work with, and refer our clients to, other organisations and partners such as Victim Support. The leading independent victim’s charity in England and Wales for people affected by crime and traumatic incidents, last year Victim Support offered help to nearly a million victims of crime across the UK.

If you need assistance after a data breach, there are many resources on the Victim Support website to help you cope.

Don’t let them get away with it!

Something has to be done to make companies accountable for not looking after our information correctly. Claiming compensation isn’t just in your best interests, it could be the only way to ensure that businesses everywhere implement more secure processes.

If you want more help or advice about making a claim then contact us today

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Data protection complaints increase leading to possible rise of GDPR breach compensation

According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – the watchdog responsible for regulating data protection laws in the UK – the number of reported data protection complaints has almost doubled since April this year. If the regulator upholds these complaints, there could be a corresponding rise in GDPR breach compensation claims.

Common causes for these data violations include:

  • Data sent to the wrong recipient
  • Loss of theft of paperwork
  • Failure to redact data
  • Failure to use bcc when sending an email.

The increase in data breach complaints has happened since the introduction of the GDPR on May 25th.  This saw more robust data protection laws come into force. GDPR is the most significant change to data privacy regulations in over two decades. The new rules are designed to:

  • Boost the rights of individuals by giving them more control over their information
  • Put more limitations and responsibilities on how organisations can handle personal data
  • Make data protection (including data breaches) more transparent.

The GDPR also saw the introduction of tough penalties for data breaches. In fact, companies who fail to put adequate data protection processes in place and subsequently suffer a breach could face fines of up to €20,000,000 or 4% of their total global annual turnover for the last financial year.

While the ICO does not award GDPR breach compensation to victims, if a company is found guilty of a data violation this can strengthen an individual’s claim.

According to the ICO:

  • 4,214 data protection complaints were made in July
  • 3,098 data protection complaints were made in June
  • 2,310 data protection complaints made in May
  • 2,165 complaints were made in April.

The stats exclude the health sector.

The figures indicate that more and more people are becoming aware of their data protection rights. This makes sense as there have been many high-profile data protection scandals over the last few months. For example, at Hayes Connor Solicitors we are currently pursuing cases against:

  • Emma’s Diary. Emma’s Diary sold its users’ information to Experian’s marketing division. This data was then used to create a database which the Labour Party manipulated to profile new mums in the run-up to the 2017 General Election. Find out more about the Emma’s Diary data breach
  • Dixons Carphone. The Dixons Carphone or Carphone Warehouse data breach took place in 2017. It resulted in 10 million customer records being accessed from Currys PC World and Dixons Travel stores. The details stolen by cyber criminals include names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and email addresses. All of which can be used by cybercriminals to commit further crimes. Find out more about the Carphone Warehouse data breach
  • Ticketmaster has admitted that thousands of UK customers have been put at risk due to third-party software on their website. This has since been removed but not before the software accessed a number of customers’ personal and financial details. Find out more about the Ticketmaster data breach
  • Last year, Equifax warned that up to 400,000 UK consumers might have had their personal details stolen. The data included names, address, dates of birth, and credit card numbers. Find out more about the Equifax data breach.

If you have been affected by any of these cases, or if you want to make a GDPR breach compensation claim against another organisation, let us know.

Making a GDPR breach compensation claim

If you have suffered damage or distress caused by an organisation breaching any part of the Data Protection Act (the UK’s interpretation of the GDPR), you have a right to claim compensation.

You can make a GDPR breach compensation claim if you have struggled emotionally following a data breach, even if you have not experienced any financial loss.

With enough information, cybercriminals can steal your identity, apply for credit in your name, set up fraudulent bank accounts and access your existing accounts. And just the thought of this happening can cause emotional distress. So why shouldn’t you seek compensation for this failure to look after your information correctly?

At Hayes Connor Solicitors our initial assessment is always free of charge. If we believe you have a substantial, complex case, we’ll go through your options with you and may be able to act for you on a NO WIN, NO FEE basis. For smaller claims, our quick assessment form will help you to start your GDPR breach compensation claim, quickly and easily.

Our expert data breach compensation solicitors make sure you receive the maximum compensation possible in the shortest possible time. However, with strict time limits in place for making data breach claims (currently all breaches going back six years could be subject to a claim) it’s essential to act now.

CONTACT US AND START YOUR GDPR breach compensation CLAIM TODAY

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Can you make a data breach claim against Emma’s Diary?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Lifecycle Marketing (Mother and Baby) Ltd (LCMB), £140,000 for illegally collecting and selling the personal information of over one million people.

LCMB, also known as Emma’s Diary, gives medical advice and free baby-themed goods to parents who download an app. The data broking company behind the app was implicated following the launch of an investigation into the Facebook data breach scandal.

As such, those affected should now be looking to claim compensation.

What happened in this case?

LCMB sold its users’ information to Experian’s marketing division (Experian Marketing Services). This data was then used to create a database which the Labour Party manipulated to profile new mums in the run-up to the 2017 General Election.

The Labour Party used this information to send targeted communications about its intention to protect Sure Start Children’s centres to mums living in marginal seats.

The data used included the names of parents using the app, household addresses, the presence of children under the age of five, and the date of birth of those children.

What was the result of the investigation?

LCMB claimed that the use of this information was fully outlined in its privacy policy. However, an investigation by the ICO found that the privacy policy did not state that the personal information given would be used for political marketing or by political parties. As such, this was a breach of the Data Protection Act.

In fact, while LCMB’s privacy policy was eventually updated to add the words “political parties” to the list of organisations it shares data with, this was only done in light of the start of the ICO’s investigation.

Commenting on this case, The Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham said: “The relationship between data brokers, political parties and campaigns is complex. Even though this company was not directly involved in political campaigning, the democratic process must be transparent.”

She added: “All organisations involved in political campaigning must use personal information in ways that are transparent, lawful and understood by the UK public.”

As the violation could cause distress to those affected, and was motivated by financial gain, LCMB has been fined £140,000 for the data breach.

What can you do?

While the ICO has the power to impose hefty fines on organisations who fail to meet their data protection obligations, it does not award compensation to victims. But, once an organisation has been found guilty by the ICO – as in this case – you can use that information to support a data protection compensation claim.

The latest breach by Emma’s Diary (LCMB) is part of a more extensive investigation into how our data is being used in political campaigning. In fact, the ICO put the UK’s 11 main political parties on notice to have their data-sharing practices audited later this year.

Worryingly, Elizabeth Denham has said that: “We are at a crossroads. Trust and confidence in the integrity of our democratic processes risk being disrupted because the average voter has little idea of what is going on behind the scenes.

“New technologies that use data analytics to micro-target people give campaign groups the ability to connect with individual voters.

“But this cannot be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law.”

She also said that the impact of behavioural advertising in elections was significant and has called for a code of practice to fix the system.

If you are one of those affected by the Emma’s Diary data breach and are concerned that your personal information was used in a way you didn’t consent to, contact Hayes Connor Solicitors immediately. We can help you to claim the maximum amount of compensation in the minimum amount of time, on a no-win, no-fee basis.

With strict-time limits in place for making most compensation claims, it’s essential to act now.

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Can you afford to use a solicitor for your data breach claim?

When it became clear that people across the UK were mis-sold PPI, often to the tune of thousands of pounds, there was a surge of new claims management companies on the scene. All promising to help consumers get back what they were due.

But, all too often, these companies were more concerned about making fast cash than helping victims. With assurances of no up-front fees turning into extortionate commission rates that left people short-changed.

Fast forward to today, and it seems like its data breach claims that are now rarely out of the news. But, as we start to talk about holding companies to account for any breach of trust when it comes to our valuable information, so do comparisons with PPI claims.

And, it is not hard to see why. It is possible that high-profile data breaches could be seen as a way to make a profit by unscrupulous claims management “factories”.  So it’s vital that you are aware of what is at stake and the options available to you.

Don’t let them get away with it!

Organisations must be held to account for their failure to protect our personal data. The sheer scale of the information we share on online is enough to leave victims open to the threat of fraud.

For example, with enough data, cybercriminals can apply for credit in your name, set up fraudulent bank accounts and access your existing accounts. And we should all be very worried about what could happen if this gets into the wrong hands.

With large-scale, high-profile hacks and breaches happening more and more often, something has to be done to make companies accountable for these losses. So, claiming compensation isn’t just in your best interests – it could be the only way to ensure that they implement more secure processes.

Should you do it yourself?

You can make a data breach claim on your own. What’s more, if you go ahead and no settlement is reached, you can even represent yourself in court. In fact, the number of people doing this over recent years has increased.

The legal term for representing yourself this way is called ‘litigating in person’ (LiP). However, while there has been a rise in the number of people doing this, this is often because they don’t think they have any choice due to a lack of alternative funding options.

The benefits of using an expert data protection lawyer

At Hayes Connor, we believe that the best way to make big companies pay for their failures is to use a specialist lawyer. Of course you would expect us to say that – but let us explain why.

Firstly we have the legal expertise needed to take on big players such as Ticketmaster and Equifax. And, where enough people come forward, we might even launch a group action against a company.

We believe that a group action is undoubtedly the best way forward for data breach claims of this nature. It allows people with the same type of claim to bring it together on a collective basis to strengthen their overall position and increase their chances of settlement or success in litigation.

In addition to our own legal expertise, we also work with expert barristers to help us win our cases. So we are confident that our team will get the results you deserve.

Can you afford to use a data breach claims lawyer?

We deal with all breach claims on a no-win, no-fee basis. This means that, if your claim is not successful, you won’t have to pay a penny.

To cover our costs, if we win your claim, we will charge a success fee. This is capped at 25% of any compensation you receive. We have to charge this to cover our costs in smaller/individual cases. There are no hidden charges or other administration fees.

In some group actions, we expect to be paid by the offending party and might even be able to work at no charge to you. This means, when you win, unlike with a claims management company, you could receive 100% of the compensation awarded to you.

Crucially, when it comes to making a compensation claim, a lack of care can leave data breach victims open to advice and representation below the standard expected by the profession, and this could ultimately see you lose out financially as a result.

Why appoint Hayes Connor Solicitors?

Leading our field when it comes to understanding this often complex area of law, we provide clear and comprehensive advice and legal support to ensure the best possible result for you.

Unlike those unscrupulous claims management companies we only ever get in touch with people who have asked us to, which means we NEVER cold call, send spam texts, spam emails, or engage in any other form of nuisance marketing.

What’s more, at Hayes Connor we understand that making a compensation claim can be stressful; especially where your sensitive information has already been breached. So, our process is fully compliant with the latest guidance, and we never put your details at risk.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MAKING A DATA BREACH CLAIM

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Ticketmaster to close resale site Get Me In. Can you still make a data breach claim?

The Ticketmaster data breach saw cybercriminals get away with the personal and financial information of thousands of people in the UK. As well as the main Ticketmaster site, the data hack also affected, TicketWeb and the resale website Get Me In.

Following the breach, Ticketmaster is now closing its secondary ticketing websites Seatwave and Get Me In, in a bid to combat touts. However, if you used Get Me In and were affected by the data breach, you can still make a compensation claim against the company.

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has already made it clear that it does not approve of companies closing to evade data breach inquiries. Earlier this year, and following the announcement that controversial data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica was to shut down, the ICO said that: “investigations cannot be impeded by the closure of these companies.”

In this case, there is no evidence that this is why Get Me In is closing. In fact, according to Ticketmaster: “We know that fans are tired of seeing others snap up tickets just to resell for a profit on secondary websites, so we have taken action”.

However, it is vital that Get Me In customers affected by the Ticketmaster data breach know their rights and are not put off making a claim.

What happened in the Ticketmaster data breach case?

Ticketmaster was affected by a substantial data protection breach after cybercriminals hacked the company’s websites. Different customers had different data stolen including financial information (some of which was fraudulently used), email addresses and other personally identifiable information (PII).

Find out more about the different types of data breaches in this case.

Make a Ticketmaster data breach claim

The only way for you to hold Ticketmaster to account is to make a data breach compensation claim.

Crucially, the law recognises the potential damage that is caused by physiological suffering. So, you can make a compensation claim if you have struggled emotionally following a data breach, even if you have not experienced any financial loss.

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we have already been contacted by lots of Ticketmaster customers who are worried that their data was not looked after as carefully as it should have been.

In response, we have now submitted a letter before action (LBA) to Ticketmaster. This LBA lets Ticketmaster know that we plan to start proceedings against them, and that we are very serious about getting our clients the compensation they deserve.

If you want to join our action against Ticketmaster, it is not too late!

To start your compensation claim, you will need you to register with us. To date, our action against Ticketmaster has more than 500 clients, and it is clear that the data breach is extensive. As such, we expect Ticketmaster to take our claim very seriously.

Data breaches often have severe consequences for those affected so you could be entitled to up to £5,000.

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