You could be in line for data breach compensation worth thousands if your data held by a government body has been affected by a data breach
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A data breach, in general, is when access to protected data is obtained by unauthorised personnel. Government and other associated bodies and organisations such as local authorities, government agencies, government contractors, MPs, civil servants hold sensitive, personal and financial information about you which they are obliged to securely protect and only share with authorised persons.
When this data is accessed or shared with unauthorised people, this amounts to a data breach. A breach could be something as straightforward as a person ringing up a business and accessing your information by pretending to be you, or another circumstance could be an email where your data is sent to the wrong person. The Data Protection Act exists to mandate a level of required security to protect your data.
Mostly, government-associated bodies and contractors will have a higher standard of security, and yet, data breaches still happen due to several factors:
Human Error – The vast majority of all data breaches, both through the government and businesses, is through human error. Examples include inadequate security procedures, such as failing to confirm the identity of a person you are speaking to, or an employee responding to a phishing email disguised as their work, or through clicking a link that they believe is genuine.
Poor internal security & procedures – Procedures for handling and storing data should be robust and ensure that internal staff know their responsibilities as well as having the right security systems in place to protect data, especialy from malicious cybe attacks. Where this falls short, breaches can result.
Cyber Attack – Cyber attacks from hackers are sometimes the cause of the breach. Their goals vary, and are not always about fraud for financial gain but rather to cause confusion, panic, inconvenience and embarrassment caused by highlighting the government’s failure to adequately protect people’s data.
Third-Party Security – Sometimes, the government gives your data to other companies that don’t have the same level of security as they do. It’s then that data can sometimes be lost if data protection procedures are not up to scratch.
Yes, you can, and you should. The government is responsible for your security, and making a claim or joining a group action claim is one of the only ways to ensure future breaches do not happen or are mitigated as much as possible.
It’s illegal by law for the government to neglect to inform you if your data may be exposed. Usually, they have a time limit of 24 hours. Going over that without very good reason (such as the reveal somehow being a threat to others) will result in even harsher penalties within a court of law.
If you find that you’ve had a breach in data, get in contact with us here today. Regardless of whether or not you’ve suffered financial loss, you can still claim on grounds of stress and inconvenience. We will make sure you have the best possible representation by getting you in touch with our team, which is comprised of SRA-approved firms that operate on a no-win no-fee basis. There is absolutely no risk to you.
Government departments and agencies often hold highly sensitive data so it is a serious matter when this data’s safety is compromised. Aside from posing a risk to individuals, data breaches from government departments can even be a risk to national security.
Government agencies and other connected bodies have a responsibility to ensure that your data is secure and when they fail in this duty you could be able to claim compensation. Not only does bringing a claim bring compensation for any financial loss of significant distress caused by the data breach, but it also forces the government to take action and improve their security systems and procedures.
Third parties that handle data on behalf of the government or other similar bodies also have a responsibility to ensure that data is adequately protected. Political parties, for example, hold data regarding their members that members wouldn’t necessarily want to be made public. In 2021 the Labour Party suffered a breach following a ransomware attack on data held by a third party which rendered the data inaccessible.
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We use dedicated data breach solicitors who have handled thousands of data breach claims
Peter is a solicitor who has worked as a professional litigator for 3 years. More recently Peter has specialised in data breach compensation claims and over the last 2.5 years has gained a wealth of knowledge in this sector. Peter now works with us to share his knowledge and inform the general public.
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