Data Breach By Maidstone Council – Compensation Claims Guide
If you’ve been caused harm following a data breach by Maidstone Council because they failed to adequately protect your information, this article will discuss how you may be able to claim compensation. In 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was enacted into UK law by the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). Since the UK has left the EU, we refer to the UK GDPR with regards to data protection.
Breaches Of Data Protection By Maidstone Council
The UK GDPR introduced rules that organisations must follow when handling data. In order to share our data, data controllers must have a lawful basis to do so. However, sometimes local authorities don’t follow these rules. This can result in your data being breached.
Data breaches can be harmful to your financial and psychological wellbeing; for example, if a criminal gains access to someone’s personal information, they could commit identity fraud. So what happens when Maidstone Council fails to do all they can to protect your data, resulting in you suffering from financial or physical harm?
Before beginning this guide, you may have questions such as:
- What type of damages could you claim?
- How do local authority data breach claims work?
- Does the UK GDPR affect councils?
This guide will answer these questions and explore the options available to you after suffering harm following a data breach. To discuss your situation and receive free legal advice, you can contact our team of advisers by:
- Calling them on 0800 073 8804 to receive 24/7 legal advice at no cost.
- Filling out our online claims form to receive a reply at your earliest convenience.
- Chatting with an adviser today via our instant live chat pop-up box for an immediate response.
Select A Section
- Our Guide To Making A Claim For A Data Breach By Maidstone Council
- Statistics On Data Security
- What Are Data Breaches By Maidstone Council?
- Does The GDPR Affect Councils?
- What Could Cause A Breach Of Data Protection?
- Failures In Protecting Tenants’ Data Privacy
- How To Report A Data Breach To The ICO
- How Local Authority Data Breach Claims Work
- What Types Of Damages Could You Claim?
- What Is A Data Breach By Maidstone Council Worth?
- No Win No Fee Claims For Data Breaches By Maidstone Council
- How A Solicitor Could Help You
- Begin Your Data Breach Claim
- Further Help
- General GDPR FAQs
Firstly, this article will look at some data security statistics before looking at what a data breach by Maidstone Council is. There will then be a section discussing how councils are affected by UK GDPR. Next, the guide will look at some potential causes of data breaches.
Following this, we will look at failures in protecting tenants’ data privacy and how to report a data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Furthermore, the guide will explore the local authority data breach claims process and examine what types of damages you could claim.
We will also discuss what a data breach by Maidstone Council could be worth in compensation. We’ll examine the different damages that you could claim, as well as how each of these is valued by the Court.
Additionally, we will provide guidance on how to begin a data breach claim and how our team of advisers can help you start the process. There will then be some further guides to ensure you have as much information as possible about data breach claims. To conclude, we will answer some frequently asked questions about data breach claims.
The table below includes statistics taken from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport showing the percentage of businesses to immediately recover from cyber attacks or breaches in 2017 vs 2020.
As you can see, 57% of businesses were able to immediately recover from cyber attacks or breaches in 2017. On the other hand, 72% were able to do this in 2020.
According to the UK GDPR, a data breach is where personal information is disclosed, stolen, damaged, unlawfully accessed, or changed without prior consent. A data breach can also occur where information is lost. Personal information is classed as any information that can lead a person to be identifiable, either from the information directly or when it’s combined with other information. Data breaches can happen physically or digitally.
A local council breach of data protection could result in a fine by the ICO if it’s proven that they could have done more to stop the breach from happening. This would be the case even if the data breach didn’t cause any harm. However, in order to make a claim for compensation following a data breach that could have been prevented with better security measures, you must have suffered either emotional or financial harm.
Data breach examples
Below are some examples of possible local council data breaches:
- A letter being delivered to the wrong address – Letters can contain personal information which could cause harm if exposed. The UK GDPR says that organisations must ensure private data, such as people’s addresses and names, are correct and accurate. This is one of the seven key principles of the UK GDPR.
- Documents left in public – An example of this could be if a council member left a bag with important documents on a train. Although this may be a mistake, it puts private data at risk of being breached, as someone could open the bag and access the personal information.
- Cyberattacks – in some cases, criminals could purposefully try to access private data for their own gain. Examples of these include phishing attacks or the use of malware.
Have you suffered emotional or financial harm because Maidstone Council failed to do all it could to keep your data safe? Please don’t hesitate to contact our team of advisers at your earliest convenience for more information on the next steps to take.
The UK GDPR states that local councils have to let you know who they want to share your data with and how your personal information will be used. They cannot share your data without a lawful basis for doing so.
One of these lawful bases is consent. For example, websites are now legally obliged to ask us to tick a consent box to allow them to use tracking cookies. This wasn’t necessary before the UK GDPR was introduced. A further example is a council asking us to tick boxes to confirm how we consent to our data being used when we give our information to pay council tax.
However, the council may not need permission to share your data where they have another lawful basis for doing so. For example:
- A hospital can access your medical records when it has a vital interest to do so. This means that processing the data could save someone’s life.
- Your employer can share your personal data with HMRC as they have a legal obligation to do so.
Our team of advisers are on hand 24 hours a day to assist you with anything you need. They can offer free legal advice and connect you to one of our solicitors if you have a valid claim.
A breach of data protection by Maidstone Council could occur in a variety of ways. It doesn’t matter whether the data was exposed as the result of a malicious attack or because of failings in security; it could still be classed as a breach. For example:
- A computer that contains private information is left unlocked in a public space.
- A phishing email is sent to council employees, which gives the hacker access to personal data.
- Your data is passed on to another local council without a legal basis for doing so, for example, as part of a study.
- Data is left in a public space where it’s accessible to members of the public.
- A letter containing personal data is delivered to the wrong address.
If an organisation like a local authority causes your personal data to be exposed, they should notify the ICO within 72 hours. They should also notify the data subject without undue delay.
If you need more information and guidance about what to do following a data breach, our team of advisers are here to help. They can offer you free legal advice and assess whether your claim is valid. If it is valid, they can connect you with one of our experienced solicitors to begin the claims process.
There is a range of information that a local authority might hold on those who live in council housing. Here are a few examples:
- Tenancy audit documents scans – Passport data is included in this. If someone gets hold of your passport data, it could result in criminals committing identity theft. This allows them to travel to different countries undergoing criminal activity under your name.
- Tenancy documents- The local authority is responsible for protecting tenants’ data, such as tenancy documents. If someone’s tenancy documents are breached, it could result in them receiving unwanted letters trying to sell them things.
- Rent statements- These statements often include the rent cost, dates of payment, their address, and name. This could lead to unwanted letters being sent to the address asking for payments.
A few examples of a tenants data breach include:
- Failing to redact personal information – This could occur if a council sends an information pack to a local landowner. The council must ensure they redact any identifiable information about tenants from the information pack. If they don’t, this is a preventable data breach.
- Falling to protect private data – The council is responsible for protecting tenants’ data. This type of data breach could happen if a member of the local council leaves rent statements or tenancy documents in a public place where someone can access them.
As we have already mentioned, in order to make a claim for compensation following a data breach, you need to be able to prove that you suffered harm as a result. You also need to show that the breach was a result of a failing on the part of the local council. For more information, why not get in touch with our team of advisors?
The ICO is responsible for investigating any data breach reports they receive. Before you report a data breach to the ICO, they recommend you contact the local council formally about your concerns first.
Once you receive a response from the local council, you can decide if you’re satisfied with how they’ve responded. You may decide to report the data breach to ICO if you’re unhappy with the response from the local council. In order to report the breach to the ICO, there must have been 3 months since the last meaningful communication you had with them.
The ICO is able to fine the local council for the data breach, but they can’t give you any compensation. Their findings can be used as evidence if you decide to make a data breach claim for emotional distress or financial loss; however, their decision is not final, and the court may come to a different decision.
You don’t have to complain to the ICO in order to pursue compensation, but it may be useful to help figure out the cause of the data breach. Our team of advisers are also available to have a chat about your situation and offer you advice. They can connect you with one of our solicitors to represent you if you can prove that you have been harmed by an avoidable data breach.
You can get in touch with our friendly team of advisers today to receive a free legal assessment. An adviser can assess whether you have a valid case and are available around the clock to help with your needs.
If your claim is legitimate, our team of advisers can help by assessing how much compensation you could be able to claim. They can then connect you to one of our expert solicitors who may be able to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis.
A lawyer may feel that the best course of action is to report the breach straight to the ICO to provide you with more information about how your data was breached. Alternatively, they may suggest claiming directly against Maidstone Borough Council without reporting it to the ICO.
There’s no need to wait to begin your claims process. Our team of advisers are available today to discuss your situation and assess whether you can make a claim.
The above sections have explored how a data breach by Maidstone Council could occur, so now we will look at the types of damages you could claim. There are two different types of compensation that could be awarded to those who have been harmed by an avoidable data breach:
- Material damages – This awards compensation for the financial loss you’ve suffered due to the data breach. For example, a criminal could steal money from your bank account if you suffer a credit card data breach.
- Non-material damages – This is compensation for the emotional distress you’ve suffered because of the data breach. For example, you could develop anxiety that your personal information is no longer secure.
You could also suffer long-term issues from a data breach, including:
- Long-term financial loss – You could suffer a long-term financial loss if your credit card details were stolen. For instance, your credit score may be affected for years after your financial data was breached.
- Long-term emotional distress – A bank account breach can leave you with long-term stress, anxiety and panic that it will happen again. This can leave you feeling paranoid, suspicious, and unable to trust people.
If you’d like to further discuss what types of damages you could claim following the harm you have suffered following an avoidable data breach, you can talk with our team of advisers. They can offer free legal advice about data breach claims.
This section includes a compensation table to show how much some psychological injuries may be valued at. Please note that this table is for example purposes only, and figures may vary.
|Damage to Mental Health||Severe||The injured person will have marked problems relating to relationships, life, work and education. The prognosis for their recovery will be very poor.||£51,460 to £108,620|
|Damage to Mental Health||Moderately Severe||Similar to above but recovery is more likely. Often unable to return to work.||£17,900 to £51,460|
|Damage to Mental Health||Less Severe||The level of the award will take into consideration how much the person's sleep and daily activities were affected.||Up to £5,500|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||Moderately Severe||Significant psychological disability but recovery may be possible with professional help.||£21,730 to £56,180|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||Less Severe||Minor symptoms persisting but recovery is mostly complete.||£3,710 to £7,680|
Vida-Hall and others v Google Inc  was a landmark case as it changed the way compensation is awarded in data breach claims. Before this case, compensation for psychological injuries could only be awarded if the claimant had also suffered a financial loss. However, the Court held that compensation should be awarded for emotional distress even if the financial loss didn’t occur.
A No Win No Fee agreement is a contract stating that you don’t have to pay your solicitor’s fees if your case fails. If your claim is successful, your lawyer will take a small legally capped percentage of your compensation. You will always be left with the majority of the compensation awarded to you.
You can chat with our team of advisers today to learn more about No Win No Fee agreements and the benefits that they offer when funding legal representation.
You don’t have to be limited to your local area when searching for a data breach lawyer. You can be represented by any of our solicitors even if you’re not in the same area.
It’s important to ensure you choose a solicitor who offers empathy and compassion towards your situation. Many people find it useful to read through reviews of solicitors to see if other claimants found them pleasant and helpful to work with.
Here are some reviews from our clients:
- ‘The team were lovely to work with’ – Kate, 2021
- ‘Highly responsive’ – Tom, 2020
- ‘Genuine support, professionalism, and assistance’ – London, 2019
Our team of advisers are available to offer you advice about choosing the right solicitor for you at any time of day. If you have a valid claim, we can connect you to one of our solicitors to begin the claims process.
The time limit to claim for a breach of your data against a private company is 6 years. However, if the data breach claim is against a public body or council, the time limit is just 12 months. And you may wish to act quickly in case you don’t realise how little time you have to claim. Especially considering that the nature of the data breach itself could influence how long you have to claim.
If you make the decision to contact our team of advisers, you don’t have to continue with our services after chatting with them. However, if you’d like, you can be connected with one of our lawyers.
To get in touch with our friendly team of advisers, you can:
- Give them a ring on 0800 073 8804 to discuss your situation with one of our advisers.
- Fill in your details on our online claims form to receive a response whenever suits you.
- Talk to an adviser through our live chat instant pop-up box for a response straight away.
Stalker Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide – Our article explores how you can make a stalker data breach compensation claim.
HR Data Breaches Compensation Claims Guide – Have you experienced an HR data breach? Our guide discusses how you could make a data breach claim.
Optician Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide – If you’ve experienced an optician data breach, our guide explains how you can gain compensation from a data breach claim.
Report a Breach – You can visit this ICO link to report a data breach.
Make a Complaint – You can make a complaint to the ICO through this link.
ICO Enforcement– This includes a list of monetary penalties, enforcement notices and prosecutions that have been enacted by the ICO.
What is the difference between EU and UK regulations?
The GDPR is an EU law that has been enacted into UK law by the Data Protection Act 2018. Since the UK has left the European Union (EU), the GDPR is separate from UK law, but the Data Protection Act ensures we follow the same regulations.
When did the GDPR come into effect?
The GDPR came into effect in 2018.
How does the Data Protection Act relate to GDPR?
The Data Protection Act enacted the GDPR into UK law in 2018. We now refer to the UK GDPR.
What are subject access requests?
If someone wants a copy of their personal data, they can put in a subject access request to receive it. You can ask for all the information a company holds on you or just specific pieces like a particular email exchange.
Thank you for reading our article on what to do if you fall victim to a data breach by Maidstone Council.
Written by Naylor
Edited by Stocks