Political Beliefs Data Breach – Could I Claim Compensation?

In today’s digital age, a political beliefs data breach has become a growing concern for individuals and organisations in the UK. Political beliefs are a fundamental aspect of an individual’s identity and privacy, and when this information is compromised, it can have serious consequences.

A political beliefs data breach occurs when an unauthorised party gains access to an individual’s political beliefs, opinions, and affiliations without their consent. This breach can happen through various means, such as hacking into databases, phishing scams, or exploiting vulnerabilities in software.

When a political beliefs data breach occurs, it can result in the disclosure of sensitive personal information, which can be used for targeted political campaigns, identity theft, or even blackmail.

political beliefs data breachIf you have been the victim of a political beliefs data breach in the UK, you may be entitled to compensation under the Data Protection Act 2018. The Act sets out rules for how personal data, including political beliefs, must be processed and protected. If an organisation acts wrongfully in exposing your data and you suffer harm as a result, you have the right to claim compensation.

In this guide, we will explore the nature of political beliefs data breaches, the potential damages that can arise from such breaches, and the steps you can take to claim data breach compensation.

If you would like to obtain a free eligibility check on your case, or want to begin a claim, please contact an advisor. You can reach us by:

Could I Claim Compensation For A Political Beliefs Data Breach?

If you have suffered harm as a result of a political beliefs data breach in the UK, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation. In order to make a successful claim, you must show that an organisation has acted wrongfully by exposing your political beliefs and you have suffered material or non-material damage as a result of the breach.

Material damage refers to financial losses, such as loss of earnings, out-of-pocket expenses, or costs incurred in mitigating the harm caused by the breach. Non-material damage refers to emotional distress, such as anxiety, depression, or loss of privacy.

To support your claim for compensation, you may need to provide evidence of the harm you have suffered, such as medical reports, financial records, or witness statements. You may also need to provide evidence that the breach was caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of the party responsible for your personal data.

If you are unsure whether you have a valid claim for compensation, you can check whether you could have a No Win No Fee claim. This means that you will only pay your solicitor’s fees if your claim is successful. It’s worth checking with an advisor to see if you are eligible to claim with one of our panel of data breach solicitors.

How Long Do I Have To Claim Compensation For A Political Beliefs Data Breach?

In the UK, individuals usually have up to six years to make a claim for compensation for damages resulting from a data breach. This time limit generally starts from the date of the breach, although for certain claims, the limitation period may be shorter.

It’s essential to note that acting as quickly as possible is crucial if you believe you have suffered harm from a data breach. This is because the longer you wait, the more difficult it may become to gather the necessary evidence to support your claim.

Are Political Beliefs Protected Data?

Under the UK GDPR, Article 9 provides special protection for certain types of personal data that are considered sensitive. This category of data is referred to as “special category data,” and it includes various types of personal information that require extra care and attention to protect.

Among the various forms of special category data, political opinions are classified as particularly sensitive. This means that they require a higher level of protection to ensure that they are not misused or mishandled in any way.

Under the UK GDPR, any processing of special category data must comply with strict rules and safeguards to ensure that the individual’s rights are protected. This includes obtaining explicit consent from the individual, implementing appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect the data, and limiting access to the data to authorised individuals only.

Political opinions can provide valuable insights into an individual’s beliefs and values, and they are often considered a fundamental aspect of an individual’s identity. As such, it is essential that they are treated with the utmost care and respect to preserve an individual’s privacy and personal autonomy.

How Could A Data Breach Happen?

There are various ways in which a breach personal data could occur. These can include:

  1. Neglecting Data Security Measures: Failing to implement appropriate data security measures like encryption, secure passwords, and firewalls can allow unauthorised access to personal data.
  2. Unauthorised Access: Allowing employees without a legitimate reason to access personal data can result in the exposure of sensitive information.
  3. Phishing Attacks: Falling prey to a phishing attack can lead to an attacker gaining access to personal data by deceiving an employee into disclosing login credentials or other personal information.
  4. Improper Disposal: Personal data disposed of improperly, without secure disposal measures, can result in a breach.
  5. Hacking: Hackers may gain unauthorised access to an system, including personal data, by exploiting vulnerabilities in security measures.
  6. Insider Threats: Employees can intentionally or unintentionally misuse personal data, like selling it to unauthorised parties or accidentally sharing it with the wrong people.

Breaches Related To Politics

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined the Conservative Party £10,000 for sending 51 marketing emails to individuals who did not consent to receive them. The ICO found that the party failed to retain clear records of consent and did not transfer unsubscribed records properly when changing email providers. While investigating, the party sent nearly 23 million emails during the 2019 General Election campaign, resulting in a further 95 complaints. The ICO identified the party’s noncompliance during a wider audit of its processing of personal data in summer 2019. ICO Director of Investigations Stephen Eckersley said that getting messages to potential voters is important, but political parties must follow the law when doing so. All organisations should give people clear information and choices about their personal data, and the ICO will continue to take action where it finds behaviour that puts people’s information rights at risk.

How Much Compensation Could I Claim For A Political Beliefs Data Breach?

The amount of compensation awarded will depend on the severity of the harm suffered because of the political beliefs data breach. You could receive compensation for financial harm caused by the wrongful exposure of your political opinions. However, you could also claim for psychological harm caused by the breach.

Compensation for a psychological injury and its impact on the individual is not always easy to determine. Legal professionals can use the Judicial College Guidelines to determine the value of claims in England and Wales. The figures they deem appropriate for psychological injuries in the 2022 edition of the guidelines can be split into the below brackets

  • Severe – £54,830 to £115,730  
  • Moderately Severe – £19,070 to £54,830
  • Moderate – £5,860 to £19,070
  • Less Severe – £1,540 to £5,860

However, they are not exhaustive and do not provide a definitive answer. The amount awarded may also vary depending on the circumstances of the case. Overall, if a data breach has caused emotional distress or psychological injury, individuals should consider seeking legal advice and potentially making a claim for compensation.

Start A No Win No Fee Claim For A Political Beliefs Data Breach

People often use solicitors to make data breach claims because the legal process surrounding data breaches can be complex. In addition, solicitors have the necessary expertise and experience to navigate the legal system and maximise the chances of a successful outcome.

One way that solicitors can help individuals with data breach claims is through the use of Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs). A CFA is a type of legal agreement between a solicitor and their client that allows the solicitor to provide legal services on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that if the case is unsuccessful, the client will typically not be required to pay fees to the solicitor.

However, if the case is successful, the solicitor will be entitled to a “success fee” in addition to their standard legal fees. The success fee is typically a percentage of the compensation awarded to the client. It is capped under the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013.

If you believe you have a valid data breach claim, you can contact an advisor who will assess the claim to determine whether it is likely to succeed under a CFA. If the claim is deemed to have merit, the advisor can connect you with a solicitor from our panel who can assist with the case.

Further Insight Into Data Breach Claims Relating To Political Beliefs

Special Category Data – Find out more about special category data.

Government Data Breach – Learn more about how this type of breach could occur.

My Personal Data Has Been Breached – Learn what steps you could take after a data breach.

Guidance On Data And Political Campaigning – Learn what the ICO says about the protection of such data.

Spam Emails – If you’ve been impacted by spam emails, you can find out what to do here.