Data breaches are becoming increasingly common in today’s digital age, and can result in serious consequences for individuals and businesses alike. In the UK, data protection laws provide important rights for individuals who have been affected by a data breach, including the right to claim compensation for any losses or damages incurred. Organisations that breach personal data can also be fined. Here, we look at the biggest data breach fines in the UK, and also provide guidance on compensation. After all, if you have been a victim of a data breach, it is important to understand your rights and take appropriate action.
We are experts in data breach claims and can help you to understand your options and make a claim. Contact us today by phone on 0800 408 7827, contact form or live chat to speak to one of our experienced solicitors.
Understanding Data Breaches and Your Rights as a Consumer
A data breach occurs when personal information that is held by an organisation is accessed or disclosed without authorisation. This can happen in a variety of ways, such as through hacking, phishing, or physical theft of data. When a data breach occurs, individuals may be at risk of identity theft, financial fraud, and other harms.
Under data protection laws in the UK, individuals have the right to control how their personal data is used and to have that data protected against unauthorised access or disclosure. If an organisation fails to meet its obligations under data protection law and a data breach occurs, affected individuals may be entitled to claim compensation for any losses or damages suffered as a result.
The Biggest Data Breach Fines in the UK: Examples and Analysis
In recent years, there have been several high-profile data breaches in the UK that have resulted in significant fines for the organisations involved. For example, in 2018, British Airways was fined £20 million for a data breach that exposed the personal data of over 400,000 customers. In the same year, Marriott International was fined £18.4 million for a breach that affected the personal data of millions of customers worldwide.
These fines were imposed by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which is the UK’s independent regulator for data protection. The ICO has the power to impose fines of up to 4% of an organisation’s global turnover for serious breaches of data protection law.
Other examples of data breach fines issued by the ICO include a £1.25 million fine issued to Ticketmaster in 2020 following a data breach that affected around 9.4 million customers, and a £500,000 fine issued to Facebook in 2018 for failing to protect users’ personal information in connection with the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
These fines demonstrate the seriousness with which the ICO takes data protection breaches and the potential consequences for organisations that fail to comply with data protection laws.
Does The ICO Help Victims Get Compensation For Data Breaches?
No, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) does not provide compensation to victims of data breaches. The role of the ICO is to regulate and enforce data protection laws in the UK, and to investigate and take enforcement action against organisations that breach those laws.
However, individuals who have been affected by a data breach may be able to seek compensation from the organisation responsible for the breach.
How Much Compensation Can You Get for a Data Breach?
The amount of compensation that you can claim for a data breach will depend on the specific circumstances of your case, including the nature and extent of the breach and any harm that you have suffered as a result. The Judicial College Guidelines provide guidance on the appropriate level of compensation for various types of harm, such as distress and loss of earnings.
Under the UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018, you may be entitled to claim compensation for both financial losses and non-financial losses, such as distress or inconvenience. In some cases, you may also be able to claim for future losses that are likely to arise as a result of the breach.
Steps to Take When Your Data Has Been Breached
If you believe that your personal data has been breached, there are several steps that you should take to protect yourself and your information. These include:
- Contact the organisation that was responsible for the breach and inform them of the situation.
- Change any passwords or other security information that may have been compromised.
- Monitor your financial accounts and credit report for any suspicious activity.
- Consider reporting the breach to the ICO or other relevant authorities.
- Seek legal advice to understand your rights and options for claiming compensation.
What Qualifies as a Data Breach and Who is Responsible?
Under data protection law in the UK, a data breach occurs when personal data is accessed, disclosed, or lost by an organisation without authorisation. This can happen through various means, such as hacking, phishing, or accidental disclosure.
Organisations that hold personal data have a legal obligation to protect that data against unauthorised access or disclosure. This includes taking appropriate security measures to prevent data breaches, such as implementing secure data storage and access protocols, providing staff training on data protection, and regularly monitoring and reviewing their security systems.
If an organisation fails to meet its obligations and a data breach occurs, they may be held liable for any losses or damages suffered by affected individuals. This can include compensation for financial losses, such as expenses incurred as a result of the breach, and non-financial losses, such as distress or emotional harm.
Do All Data Breaches Lead To Compensation?
Not all data breaches lead to a claim because in order to make a claim, certain criteria must be met. Firstly, the data breach must have resulted in some form of loss or damage to the affected individual. This can include financial losses, such as money stolen as a result of identity theft, or non-financial losses, such as emotional distress or reputational damage.
Secondly, the individual must be able to prove that the organisation responsible for the breach was at fault. This may involve demonstrating that the organisation wrongfully failed to take appropriate measures to protect the data, or that they breached their legal obligations under data protection laws.
Time Limits for Making Data Breach Claims
Under the Limitation Act 1980, there is typically a time limit of six years for making a data breach claim in the UK. This means that you have six years from the date of the breach to make a claim for compensation.
It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible if you believe that you have been affected by a data breach, as there may be additional time limits or requirements that need to be met in order to make a successful claim.
No Win No Fee Data Breach Claims
We understand that the cost of making a data breach claim can be a barrier for some individuals. That’s why we work with solicitors that offer No Win No Fee arrangements for data breach claims, also known as Conditional Fee Agreements.
Under a No Win No Fee agreement, you will not be required to pay any upfront costs or fees to your solicitor. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive a percentage of your compensation as their success fee. Should your claim be unsuccessful, you will not be liable to pay for the solicitor’s work.
If you are interested in learning more about making a No Win No Fee claim for a data breach that has harmed you, please call our advisors.
Getting Started With Your Claim
If you have been affected by a data breach in the UK, you may be entitled to claim compensation for any losses or damages that you have suffered. It is important to understand your rights and take appropriate action to protect yourself and your information.
We are experts in data breach claims and can help you to understand your options and make a claim. Contact us today by phone on 0800 408 7827, use the contact form, or live chat to speak to one of our experienced solicitors and get the compensation that you deserve.
What Are The Biggest Data Breach Fines In The UK – More Information
Now we’ve provided details of the biggest data breach fines in the UK, you can learn more about making a claim by visiting the links below.
Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – Enforcement – The ICO is the UK’s independent regulator for data protection and privacy. This page provides information on the ICO’s enforcement activities, including fines issued for GDPR breaches.
The Law Society – Data protection – The Law Society is the professional body for solicitors in England and Wales. This page provides information and guidance on data protection law for legal professionals.
GOV.UK – Data protection – This page provides information on data protection laws in the UK, including the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018. It also includes guidance on how to comply with these laws.
How Much Compensation Can I Expect To Receive For A Data Breach Claim? – Insight into the compensation someone could receive for a breach.
What Are The Key Differences Between A Data Breach Claim And A Personal Injury Claim? – Learn what the difference is and who could claim compensation.
Claiming Compensation For A Wrong Email Address Data Breach – Working out whether you could claim.