Posts

Data protection compensation
,

Facebook data breach investigation latest. What’s happening and how can you make a compensation claim?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is set to fine Facebook £500,000 for data breaches. That is the maximum financial penalty possible and reflects the severity of the data protection scandal. The ICO also intends to bring criminal action against SCL Elections, the now-defunct parent company of Cambridge Analytica.

If you are a Facebook user and are concerned that your data has been accessed and exploited, get in touch. We’ll let you know if and when you can claim.

GET IN TOUCH

What happened in this case?

  • Social media giant Facebook and controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica are at the centre of a dispute over the harvesting and use of personal data
  • Questions were raised over whether this data was used to influence the outcome of the US 2016 presidential election and the Brexit referendum
  • In March 2017, the ICO began looking into whether personal data had been misused

What is happening now in the Facebook data breach investigation?

Yesterday, the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham, published a detailed update of her office’s investigation into the use of data analytics in political campaigns.

The report reveals that the ICO plans to fine Facebook £500,000 for breaches of the Data Protection Act.

The ICO has also said that it is taking steps to bring a criminal prosecution against SCL Elections Limited. While Cambridge Analytica has shut down, the ICO has already said that its directors can still be held liable and possibly criminally prosecuted.

Crucially, the ICO believes that in addition to breaching its own rules, Facebook also failed to ensure Cambridge Analytica had deleted its users’ personal data when requested. What’s more, while the ICO noted that Facebook had been the biggest recipient of digital advertising by political parties and campaigns to date, it said that the company had not done enough to explain to users they were being targeted as a consequence, or given people enough control over how their sensitive personal data was used. As a result, it seems that Facebook is guilty of two breaches of the Data Protection Act.

So, does this mean Facebook will be held to account?

No. The social media giant still has time to make any representations to the ICO before a final decision is made. However, by publishing a Notice of Intent, it is clear that the ICO is taking this matter very seriously. In fact, based on the evidence so far it looks likely that the ICO will issue Facebook with the maximum fine allowed under British law.

However, Facebook could still get away lightly, because if it had been fined under the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), it could have been hit with a penalty of £479m. Indeed, the £500,000 fine is tiny when stacked up against the firm’s value of £445bn.

The impact on political parties

In its report, the ICO raised concerns about political parties buying personal information from data brokers.

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.

The ICO has also written to all the main political parties in the UK pressing them to have their data protection practices audited.

Who else is involved?

 Aggregate IQ

The ICO has said that Aggregate IQ (AIQ), a Canadian company which worked with the Vote Leave campaign in the run-up to the EU Referendum must stop processing UK citizens’ data. AIQ had access to UK voters’ personal data provided by Vote Leave and this information may have been transferred and accessed outside the UK. If so, this would be a breach of the Data Protection Act.

Emma’s Diary

The ICO also named Emma’s Diary; a company that gives medical advice and free baby-themed goods to parents who download an app. It appears that the company may have handed over data which was then used by the Labour Party to campaign to people. As a result, the ICO is about to take regulatory action against Lifecycle Marketing, the owner of the service.

With potentially one million people affected, if you have downloaded and used Emma’s Diary and are concerned that you have been targeted in this way, contact us today to find out more about making a compensation claim.

CONTACT US NOW

Eldon Insurance Services

It has been alleged that the Leave campaign used the personal information of people on the Eldon Insurance and GoSkippy database on the run-up to the Brexit referendum. If true, this is a shocking misuse of private information and anybody affected is likely to have a claim for compensation.

Find out more here.

Vote Leave

The ICO is looking into to what extent Vote Leave transferred the personal data of citizens outside the UK. It is likely that this was in a breach of the Data Protection Act.

Remain campaign

The ICO is investigating the collection and sharing of personal data by the official Remain campaign (Britain Stronger in Europe) and a linked data broker. In particular, it is examining inadequate third party consents and the fair processing statements used to collect personal data.

The University of Cambridge

The Psychometrics Centre at the University of Cambridge carries out research into social media profiles. As part of its investigation, the ICO is considering whether Cambridge University has “sufficient systems and processes in place to ensure that data collected by academics for research is appropriately safeguarded in its use and not re-used for commercial work.”

The ICO said that it expects the next stage of its investigation to be complete by the end of October.

How to make a compensation claim

What’s emerged so far is looking increasingly like just the tip of the iceberg. We could be talking about one of the largest ever group actions of its kind in the UK courts. As such, Hayes Connor Solicitors has launched a group action against Facebook and has appointed Barrister Ian Whitehurst to help in this case.

Having developed a practice in the field of data breach claims for individuals and companies who have had their personal and sensitive data breached by third parties, we are confident that together our team will get the results our clients deserve.

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

Furthermore, with a group action claimants often share the legal fees. And, while the cost of pursuing small claims can be a barrier to justice, by grouping cases together, solicitors are often able to run group actions on a no win-no fee basis.

What should you do now?

Contact Hayes Connor Solicitors ASAP. We’ll ensure that you are fully informed on this matter and will notify you about the investigation and your legal rights when making a claim.

REGISTER NOW

Hayes Connor Solicitors
,

Facebook data breach. Does your distress matter?

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we are preparing to launch a group action against Facebook and controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica. Complicit in a massive data breach, we believe that these companies must be held to account for their failure to protect our personal information.

Despite this, some people would have us believe that claiming for distress is an overreaction. That your physiological suffering and anguish doesn’t matter. 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.

Luckily the law doesn’t look at things this way and recognises the amount of damage that can be caused by worry and upset.

Why distress is important

Being the victim of a crime can have a significant impact on you mentally and physically. Of course, everyone reacts differently, but 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 just “get over it” isn’t helpful.

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”.

What the law says

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.

Crucially, a recent case has recognised 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.

A personal data breach is a 21st-century version of being burgled. If a criminal came into your home and stole all your photos or read your diary and private letters you would be distressed. So why should you feel any less upset at having your online memories taken – particularly when it looks like Facebook gave the burglar the keys? And why shouldn’t you seek compensation for this failure to look after your information correctly?

Coping after a data breach or cyber crime

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we are committed to helping those affected by cybercrime and data breaches. To do this, we regularly work with, and refer our clients to, other organisations and partners. This includes 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 a number of resources on the Victim Support website to help you cope.

Don’t let them get away with it!

The sheer scale of the information we share on social media is enough to leave victims open to the threat of fraud. And we should all be very worried about what could happen if this gets into the wrong hands. For example, with enough information, cyber criminals can steal your identity, apply for credit in your name, set up fraudulent bank accounts and access your existing accounts.

Something has to be done to make companies accountable for these losses and claiming compensation isn’t just in your best interests, it could be the only way to ensure that businesses everywhere implement more secure processes.

How to make a compensation claim against Facebook

You can claim on your own, but, at Hayes Connor, we believe that the best way to make big companies pay for their failures is to use an expert lawyer. As such, we are preparing to launch a no-win, no-fee group action against Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. This group action allows people who have been affected to work together to strengthen their overall position and increase their chances of success.

IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A CLAIM THEN COMPLETE OUR CONTACT FORM.

 

Data breach compensation claims
,

Can you still make a claim against Cambridge Analytica?

Cambridge Analytica – which is at the centre of the Facebook data breach scandal – has filed for bankruptcy and is to shut down. Accused of improperly using personal data harvested from millions of Facebook users, a statement on the firm’s website states that it is it “no longer viable to continue operating the business.” Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL Group, is also closing, leading to allegations that the firms are attempting to use insolvency laws in the UK to evade scrutiny.

Will the investigations continue?

Commenting on the news, the chair of the UK parliamentary committee leading the investigation into the data breach scandal said that: “They [Cambridge Analytica’s and SCL Group] are party to very serious investigations and those investigations cannot be impeded by the closure of these companies.”

He added: We’ve got to make sure this isn’t an attempt to run and hide, that these companies are not closing down to try to avoid them being rigorously investigated over the allegations that are being made against them.”

There is also scepticism over the closures, with one ex-employee of Cambridge Analytica, stating that they were sure the company would emerge “in some other incarnation or guise”.

Can you still claim for compensation?

Absolutely. In fact, regardless of whether a company exists anymore, directors can still be held liable. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – which is conducting its own civil and criminal investigations – has said that it will pursue individuals and directors as appropriate and necessary should the companies no longer be operating.

The ICO has also said that it will continue with its inquiries and “monitor closely any successor companies using our powers to audit and inspect, to ensure the public is safeguarded.”

What now?

If you are concerned that your data has been exploited by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica contact us today. As specialists in data law, we are carefully observing this case and are pulling together a group action to seek compensation.

We believe that a group action offers the best chance of success for data breach claims of this nature as it allows people to work together on a collective basis and strengthen their overall position. With a group action, people share the legal fees, and, by grouping cases together, solicitors are often able to run group actions on a no win-no fee basis.

At Hayes Connor, we not only have the legal expertise needed to win these types of cases, but we have also appointed an expert barrister to help and we are confident that our team will get the results you deserve.

Register your interest in making a compensation claim.

group action claims
,

Are you an Eldon Insurance or GoSkippy customer? If so you might be the victim of a data breach

It has been alleged that the personal information of people on the Eldon Insurance and GoSkippy database was used by the Leave.EU campaign on the run-up to the Brexit referendum. If true, this is a shocking misuse of private information and anybody affected is likely to have a claim for compensation.

What has been said?

Speaking to a House of Commons Committee, a former employee of Cambridge Analytica has said that she believes data held by Eldon Insurance and GoSkippy (Eldon’s motor insurance brand) was shared with Leave.EU during the Brexit campaign.

Whistle-blower Brittany Kaiser said that “there is reason to believe that misuse of data was rife among the businesses and campaigns of Arron Banks.” Mr Banks, who runs Eldon Insurance is a Ukip donor and co-founder of the Leave.EU campaign.

Giving evidence for over three hours, Ms Kaiser, who was a business development director at Cambridge Analytica, said that the controversial data firm had carried out extensive work for Leave.EU during the Brexit campaign. She also said that Mr Banks explicitly asked her if savings could be made if Cambridge Analytica had access to data held by Leave.EU, Ukip and Eldon together. She added that while Cambridge Analytica was not commissioned to do this work, she believes it was carried out.

And there certainly seems to be a muddying of the waters between the organisations as, according to Ms Kaiser, when attending the headquarters of Leave.EU she was surprised to discover that the people staffing the phones were employees of Eldon Insurance.

She said: “I have evidence from my own eyes of possible breaches of the Data Protection Act concerning the usage of personal and commercial data of individuals in the Eldon Insurance database and possibly the Ukip database, being used for the benefit of the Leave.EU campaign”.

Did Eldon Insurance break the law?

Leave.EU has denied that any data from Eldon Insurance or GoSkippy was shared with them. However, if the allegations are right, and the personal information of people who just wanted to buy car insurance was shared and used without their knowledge or consent, this is a clear breach of the Data Protection Act.

The Electoral Commission and the ICO are already investigating the campaign group, and the latest allegations will raise further questions about the way data was used to target British voters during the Brexit campaign.

In addition, Ms Kaiser also claims that far more than 87 million people may have had their Facebook data harvested by Cambridge Analytica. Find out more about the Facebook data breach.

What can you do?

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we are already preparing a group action case against Cambridge Analytica. We are now also looking to launch a similar lawsuit against Eldon Insurance once the relevant investigations are complete.

A group action allows people with the same type of claim in principle to bring it together on a collective basis to strengthen their overall position and increase their chances of success. What’s more, by grouping cases together, solicitors are often able to run group actions on a no win-no fee basis.

For anyone worried that their data has been exposed by Eldon Insurance or GoSkippy, let us know. We’ll ensure that you are fully informed on this matter and will notify you about the investigation and your legal rights when making a claim.

Register your details 

Start a data breach claim today

data breach compensation
,

Will Facebook compensation claims be the new PPI?

As data breach experts, here at Hayes Connor, we are preparing to launch a group action against Facebook and controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica. But, as the possibility of holding Facebook to account for its breach of trust becomes more and more likely, so do comparisons with PPI claims.

Is Facebook the new PPI?

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 shiny 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 promises of no up-front fees turning into extortionate commission rates that left people short-changed.

And, it is possible that the same thing could happen here; with Facebook and other high-profile data breaches being seen as a way to make a profit by unscrupulous claims management “factories”. So it’s vital that you are aware of what’s at stake and the options available to you.

Don’t let them get away with it!

Facebook must be held to account for its failure to protect our personal data. The sheer scale of the information we share on social media is enough to leave victims open to the threat of fraud. And we should all be very worried about what could happen if this gets into the wrong hands. For example, with enough information, cybercriminals can apply for credit in your name, set up fraudulent bank accounts and access your existing accounts.

If a burglar came in and stole all your personal photos, memories etc you would be furious. You would be distressed. This is the 21st-century version of being burgled.

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.

You can do it yourself

You can make a claim on your own, and 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 doing this is called ‘litigating in person’ (LiP). However, it has been noted that there has been a rise in the number of people doing this 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 an expert lawyer. Of course you would expect us to say that – but let us explain why.

Hayes Connor is preparing to launch a group action against Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. 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.

What’s more, with a group action claimants often share the legal fees. Even better, while the cost of pursuing small claims can be a barrier to justice, by grouping cases together, solicitors are often able to run group actions on a no win-no fee basis.

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.

Also, we not only have the legal expertise needed to take on big players such as Facebook, but we have also appointed an expert barrister to help in this case. This barrister has developed a practice in the field of data breach claims for individuals and companies who have had their personal and sensitive data breached by third parties, and we are confident that our team will get the results you deserve.

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.

But, leading our field when it comes to understanding this often complex area of law, Hayes Connor provides clear and comprehensive advice and legal support to ensure the best possible result for you.

Unlike those unprincipled 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.

Register your interest in making a Facebook compensation claim.

data breach solicitors
, ,

Expedia data breach – have your bank details been exposed?

As news reports everywhere discussed the ins and outs of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal, another data breach was uncovered last month. But, because the details aren’t as juicy as those in the Facebook case, it didn’t quite get as much coverage. So you might not have heard about it.

But, for victims of the Expedia data hack – which may have revealed the information on thousands of payment cards – the consequences could be even worse. So, what exactly happened, and can you make a data protection act compensation claim if your details are at risk?

Expedia data breach – what happened?

In March, travel fare aggregator Orbitz revealed that between January 2016 and December 2017, hackers gained access to users’ personal information. This included names, phone numbers, emails and billing addresses. Orbitz, which is owned by Expedia, offers booking options and deals on flights, accommodation and holiday activities.

The hack, which is believed to have accessed 80,000 accounts wasn’t discovered until March 2018, which left plenty of time for cybercriminals to put this information to illegal use.

A statement by Orbitz said: “To date, we do not have direct evidence that this personal information was actually taken from the platform and there has been no evidence of access to other types of personal information, including passport and travel itinerary information.”

However, that data that has been accessed is extremely personal and could cause serious damage and distress for victims.

Should you be worried?

The information accessed in the Expedia data hack is enough to leave victims open to fraud. So, if you have been affected, you are right to worry about what could happen if this data gets into the wrong hands. For example, with enough information, cybercriminals can apply for credit in your name, set up fraudulent bank accounts and access your existing accounts.

Signs that your data has been used by criminals following a data breach include:

  • Bills or emails showing goods or services you haven’t ordered
  • Unfamiliar transactions from your account
  • An unexpected dip in your credit score
  • Unsolicited communications that ask for your personal data or refer you to a web page asking for personal data.

Don’t be fobbed off!

To help protect users, Orbitz has said those affected can access a year of free credit monitoring and identity protection services. But, given the amount of time that has lapsed between the breach and its discovery, this could be too little too late.

Also, while we do recommend using these types of services – particularly following a data breach – you should make sure that by agreeing to any free offers, you are not inadvertently signing away you rights to make a data protection act compensation claim.

Can you make a data protection act compensation claim?

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. You can claim against a wide range of private organisations and businesses already fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

As such, if you want to hold Expedia to account we recommend that you inform the ICO about your concerns ASAP.

You can do this here.


However, while the ICO has the power to impose hefty fines on organisations in breach of their duties, it does not award compensation, So, you should also contact us to claim data protection act compensation.

Start your data protection act compensation claim
At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we make sure you receive the maximum compensation possible in the shortest possible time for any financial, medical harm, anguish and anxiety caused by a data breach. We will also let you know when your claim for data protection act compensation can be made and advise you on what to do while waiting for the investigation’s findings.

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.

VISIT OUR SECURE DATA BREACH FORM

Data protection compensation
,

Hayes Connor preparing for group action against Facebook

Social media giant Facebook, controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica, and two other companies are facing legal action from thousands of people in the UK. And, as expert data breach solicitors, here at Hayes Connor we are preparing to launch a group action once the relevant investigations are complete.

What happened?

Cambridge Analytica and tech giant Facebook are at the centre of a dispute over the harvesting and use of personal data – and whether it was used to influence the outcome of the US 2016 presidential election, or, more relevantly in the UK, the Brexit referendum.

The data analytics firm is accused of harvesting the data of over 70 million Facebook users worldwide without permission and failing to delete it when told to. Making matters worse, while Facebook found out about the breach in 2015, the social media giant failed to alert its users, and did not take adequate steps to recover and secure the private information.

As well as Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, SCL Group Limited and Global Science Research Limited (GSR) are also facing legal action.

What’s next?

What’s emerged so far is looking increasingly like just the tip of the iceberg. We could be talking about one of the largest ever group actions of its kind in the UK courts so it’s no wonder that we have received enquiries from hundreds of concerned Facebook users in the UK already.

Hayes Connor solicitors has appointed Barrister Ian Whitehurst to help in this case. Having developed a practice in the field of data breach claims for individuals and companies who have had their personal and sensitive data breached by third parties, we are confident that together our team will get the results our clients deserve.

Why launch a group action?

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 in principle to bring it together on a collective basis to strengthen their overall position and increase their chances of settlement or success in litigation.

What’s more, with a group action claimants often share the legal fees. Even better, while the cost of pursuing small claims can be a barrier to justice, by grouping cases together, solicitors are often able to run group actions on a on a no win-no fee basis.

What should you do now?

For anyone worried that their details have been exposed by the Facebook data breach, there are a few simple steps they can follow.

  1. Start by checking the apps you have enabled through Facebook. To do this, go to settings and click ‘Apps’ on the left sidebar. Make a list of the app that have/had access to your Facebook account and note down why you are concerned about them.
  2. Next, look out for a notification from Facebook. The social media giant has promised to inform users if their data was accessed by any apps that might have misused it. You should also set out why you think your data has been breached. For example, have you been targeted on Facebook by any political parties or causes that you are not affiliated with?
  3. It is also important to inform the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) about your concerns. At present the ICO is undertaking an investigation into the activities of Facebook and the retention, sharing and distribution of data illegally in the UK.
  4. Finally, contact Hayes Connor Solicitors ASAP. We’ll ensure that you are fully informed on this matter and will notify you about the investigation and your legal rights when making a claim.

Register Today

,

Facebook to alert you if your data was shared

From today, Facebook will begin notifying the 87 million people whose personal information may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.

If your data was leaked, you will receive a message from Facebook at the top of your news feed. This will provide details on how you are affected. You will receive this message if you or your friends used Facebook to log into the This Is Your Digital Life app.

Also, all other Facebook users will receive a notice helping them to turn off specific apps or shut down third-party access to their apps entirely.

While most of those affected are in the US, some people in the UK have also had their details breached. It is understood the messages will be sent out at about 5pm in the UK.

Take action now!

Facebook is now facing investigation both in the UK and the USA. If the social media giant is found to be in breach of the data protection act, you could be entitled to compensation.

It is important to stand up to big organisations who are exploiting our data. Particularly as this could just be the tip of the iceberg.

 

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we are preparing a potential group action to take on the tech giant. Having already received ‘hundreds’ of enquiries from worried Facebook users across the country, we could be talking about one of the largest ever group actions of its kind in the UK courts.

If you are a Facebook user and are concerned that your data has been accessed and exploited, get in touch. We’ll let you know if and when you can claim.

 

GET IN TOUCH

 

 

,

Facebook Data Scandal

Last week Mark Zuckerberg faced some hard questions about the Facebook data scandal – Here is a round up of what he said:

 

Hard Questions: Q&A With Mark Zuckerberg on Protecting People’s Information

Mark Zuckerberg

about 2 weeks ago

I want to share an update on the Cambridge Analytica situation — including the steps we’ve already taken and our next steps to address this important issue.

We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you. I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again. The good news is that the most important actions to prevent this from happening again today we have already taken years ago. But we also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.

Here’s a timeline of the events:

In 2007, we launched the Facebook Platform with the vision that more apps should be social. Your calendar should be able to show your friends’ birthdays, your maps should show where your friends live, and your address book should show their pictures. To do this, we enabled people to log into apps and share who their friends were and some information about them.

In 2013, a Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan created a personality quiz app. It was installed by around 300,000 people who shared their data as well as some of their friends’ data. Given the way our platform worked at the time this meant Kogan was able to access tens of millions of their friends’ data.

In 2014, to prevent abusive apps, we announced that we were changing the entire platform to dramatically limit the data apps could access. Most importantly, apps like Kogan’s could no longer ask for data about a person’s friends unless their friends had also authorized the app. We also required developers to get approval from us before they could request any sensitive data from people. These actions would prevent any app like Kogan’s from being able to access so much data today.

In 2015, we learned from journalists at The Guardian that Kogan had shared data from his app with Cambridge Analytica. It is against our policies for developers to share data without people’s consent, so we immediately banned Kogan’s app from our platform, and demanded that Kogan and Cambridge Analytica formally certify that they had deleted all improperly acquired data. They provided these certifications.

Last week, we learned from The Guardian, The New York Times and Channel 4 that Cambridge Analytica may not have deleted the data as they had certified. We immediately banned them from using any of our services. Cambridge Analytica claims they have already deleted the data and has agreed to a forensic audit by a firm we hired to confirm this. We’re also working with regulators as they investigate what happened.

This was a breach of trust between Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. But it was also a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it. We need to fix that.

In this case, we already took the most important steps a few years ago in 2014 to prevent bad actors from accessing people’s information in this way. But there’s more we need to do and I’ll outline those steps here:

First, we will investigate all apps that had access to large amounts of information before we changed our platform to dramatically reduce data access in 2014, and we will conduct a full audit of any app with suspicious activity. We will ban any developer from our platform that does not agree to a thorough audit. And if we find developers that misused personally identifiable information, we will ban them and tell everyone affected by those apps. That includes people whose data Kogan misused here as well.

Second, we will restrict developers’ data access even further to prevent other kinds of abuse. For example, we will remove developers’ access to your data if you haven’t used their app in 3 months. We will reduce the data you give an app when you sign in — to only your name, profile photo, and email address. We’ll require developers to not only get approval but also sign a contract in order to ask anyone for access to their posts or other private data. And we’ll have more changes to share in the next few days.

Third, we want to make sure you understand which apps you’ve allowed to access your data. In the next month, we will show everyone a tool at the top of your News Feed with the apps you’ve used and an easy way to revoke those apps’ permissions to your data. We already have a tool to do this in your privacy settings, and now we will put this tool at the top of your News Feed to make sure everyone sees it.

Beyond the steps we had already taken in 2014, I believe these are the next steps we must take to continue to secure our platform.

I started Facebook, and at the end of the day I’m responsible for what happens on our platform. I’m serious about doing what it takes to protect our community. While this specific issue involving Cambridge Analytica should no longer happen with new apps today, that doesn’t change what happened in the past. We will learn from this experience to secure our platform further and make our community safer for everyone going forward.

I want to thank all of you who continue to believe in our mission and work to build this community together. I know it takes longer to fix all these issues than we’d like, but I promise you we’ll work through this and build a better service over the long term.

[source: Facebook Hard questions]

If you are worried that you have been affected then contact us today

,

MyFitnessPal data breach – know your rights Step-by-step guide to claiming data protection act compensation

Last week it was revealed that MyFitnessPal was breached. Affecting 150 million users, the scale of the breach makes it one of the largest data hacks in history.

What data has been stolen?

The data stolen includes usernames, email addresses and scrambled passwords for both the MyFitnessPal app and the website.

An email from MyFitnessPal to affected users said that on March 25, 2018, Under Armour – the maker of the app – became aware that during February of this year an unauthorised party acquired data associated with MyFitnessPal user accounts. Once informed, Under Armour said that it “quickly took steps to determine the nature and scope of the issue”. It also said that it is working with leading data security firms to assist in its investigation; and that it has notified and is coordinating with law enforcement authorities.

Users have also been given advice on how they can protect their data. However, this could be too little too late.

What can criminals do with this stolen data?

With enough information, cyber criminals can apply for credit in your name, set up fraudulent bank accounts and access your existing accounts. And, while in this case bank details and home addresses were not put at risk, there is a lot of information that can be collected from an email account.

Signs that your data has been stolen include:

  • Bills or emails showing goods or services you haven’t ordered
  • Unfamiliar transactions or suspicious activity on your account
  • An unexpected dip in your credit score
  • Unsolicited communications that ask for your personal data or refer you to a web page asking for personal data.

To protect yourself from cyber criminals, make sure you follow the advice provided by MyFitnessPal. In particular, change your password and avoiding clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails.  

Step-by-step guide to data protection act compensation

If you have had your data stolen, it is also essential that you know your rights.

  1. 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
  2. You can make a claim against a wide range of private organisations and businesses already fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
  3. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is an independent authority, set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, and to promote openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals. While the ICO does not award compensation, it does have the power to impose hefty fines on organisations in breach of their duties
  4. At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we can help you to claim data protection act compensation. We make sure you receive the maximum compensation possible in the shortest possible time
  5. To claim compensation, you must be able to prove that you suffered as a result of the breach. This includes financial and medical harm, as well as anguish and anxiety. In many cases, a violation will not cause damage but will cause distress. This could be especially true in this case should personal fitness and health data be exposed
  6. Until recently, a person who suffered damage might have had their compensation increased to take into account any associated distress, but in most cases compensation would not have been awarded for distress alone. However, a recent ruling has paved the way for those affected by data breaches to claim damages for distress, even if they have not suffered any financial loss.

It is vital to hold large companies to account to ensure better data protection processes are put in place. So, if you have been affected by the MyFitnessPal breach we recommend that you inform the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) about your concerns ASAP.

In addition, if you are a MyFitnessPal user and are worried that your data has been accessed and exploited, you should get in touch with Hayes Connor Solicitors. We will let you know when your claim for data protection act compensation can be made and help you get the redress you deserve. We will also be able to advise you on what to do while waiting for the investigation’s findings.

VISIT OUR SECURE DATA BREACH FORM