Are Data Breach Class Action Claims on the Rise?
Data breaches have been making the news more and more over the years, with large companies including Facebook, Microsoft and Virgin Media being exposed for breaching personal customer data.
Since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation in 2016 (GDPR), companies are under more scrutiny than ever to handle customer data responsibly. But with personal data now being seen as the most valuable commodity in the world, even large organisations with good safety measures in place can fall victim to a data breach.
If you’ve been affected by a breach of your personal data or you’d like advice about making a claim for data breach compensation, get in touch with our Data Breach Claims Solicitors for free initial legal advice.
What is a Class Action?
Class actions, also known as representative actions, are when a claim is brought on behalf of a large number of people (often millions), who have all experienced the same wrongdoing in the exact same way.
Class actions often work for data breach compensation cases that happen on a large scale, where individual claims aren’t as likely to be successful on their own. In England and Wales, data breach claims usually work on an ‘opt-in’ basis, which means that every person who wants to be involved in the claim must choose to actively join the proceedings.
However, we are starting to see more representative actions taking an ‘opt-out’ approach. Here are two cases that have recently hit the headlines:
Lloyd v Google
Richard Lloyd brought a claim against Google in 2018 on behalf of over 4 million people. He alleged that they were all victims of the exact same wrongdoing – the unlawful collection and use of their personal data.
The claim was initially rejected by the High Court, who argued that Lloyd failed to prove the loss that all the claimants had experienced.
But he appealed the decision in 2019 on the basis that damages can be awarded for loss of control of data under the Data Protection Act, even if no loss or distress has been proven.
It’s been a long-awaited Trial, with the appeal due to take place on the 28th and 29th April this year. The outcome may well change the future of ‘opt-out’ representative actions for data breach claims in England and Wales.
The ongoing case has already led the government to review representative actions and consider bringing in new legislation to cover opt-out class actions. We’re yet to find out what this could mean for victims of mass data breach claims, but we’re interested to hear the outcome from this Trial and how this could change the law on class action lawsuits in the UK.
TikTok and Children’s Data
Video-sharing app TikTok is also facing a legal battle over their use of children’s data. Former Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, is bringing a claim on behalf of millions of children across the UK and EU.
Like Richard Lloyd, she’s doing this on an opt-out basis, arguing that TikTok is a “data collection service that is thinly veiled as a social network,” and has “deliberately and successfully deceived parents.”
TikTok are allegedly gathering children’s personal information without consent, including:
- Phone numbers
- Their location
- Biometric data i.e. face or fingerprint recognition
This case does raise some worrying concerns about the safety of children’s data, especially when there are children younger than 13 using the TikTok app.
Making a Data Breach Compensation Claim
While we don’t currently deal with representative action cases, we do help many people make an individual data breach claim against various organisations who have mishandled their data.
Some of the companies we’ve helped bring claims against include DivideBuy, Transform Hospital Group and EasyJet.
If you’ve had your personal data breached, you’ll understandably have some concerns about the safety of your personal accounts, especially if any of your financial details have been exposed. It’s important to take steps to protect your data after it’s been exposed, as a serious data breach can put you at risk of identity theft and fraud.
Our Data Breach Claims Solicitors can look at your case and let you know if you’ve got grounds to make a claim. If you do, we’ll fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Ask us about No Win, No Fee options when you get in touch.
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.