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Is Revealing My Phone Number A Breach Of UK GDPR?

Is Revealing My Phone Number A Breach Of UK GDPR?

Is Revealing My Phone Number A Breach Of UK GDPR Claims Guide?

The UK’s data protection laws give protection to your personal information when it is held or in use by an organisation. Your phone number is part of your personal information. If an organisation fails to protect your personal information, you could hold them liable for any harm you suffer as result. Revealing your phone number without a lawful basis to do so, can be a breach of the UK GDPR, and this guide will show you how you could be eligible to make a claim for compensation. 

We will talk about data breaches, the UK GDPR, the protection it gives to your personal data and give you information about compensation and how it is calculated in data breach claims. We will also explain how you can get in touch with our No Win No Fee solicitors to help you make your claim. 

For any information you might need, or questions you want answered about making a claim, you can also speak with one of our advisers. They offer free initial consultations and can even help value your claim and assess if the organisation could be liable. You can reach out to one now by; 

Select A Section 

  1. Is My Phone Number Covered Under UK GDPR? 
  2. What Personal Data Is Not Covered By The UK GDPR? 
  3. Is Revealing My Phone Number A Breach Of UK GDPR? 
  4. What Can I Do If My Phone Number Has Been Revealed? 
  5. How Much Could You Claim For Someone Revealing Your Phone Number As A Breach Of UK GDPR? 
  6. Learn More About Whether Revealing Your Phone Number Is A Breach Of UK GDPR 

Is My Phone Number Covered Under UK GDPR? 

Personal information can broadly be categorised into two categories: 

  • Information that identifies you: such as your name, address, or date of birth 
  • Information that relates to you: such as ethnic background, religious affiliation or sexual orientation. 

When an organisation records, stores or uses any piece of information about or relating to a person, the information is considered personal data 

The organisation is now considered a data controller and immediately becomes subject to the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). This is because there are rules for how personal data can be used, revealed or shared.

Data controllers have a responsibility to make sure any personal information they have about you is securely stored, kept confidential and only used appropriately. 

Your phone number is your personal information, and if you suffered harm because: 

  • An organisation revealed your phone number without a valid and lawful reason 
  • An organisation failed to properly secure your phone number, leading to it being exposed. 

You could be eligible to make a claim for compensation for the financial or mental harm that you suffered. If this happened to you, please speak with one of our advisers for information about making a data breach claim. 

How Often Is Personal Data Privacy Breached? 

The Information Commissioner’s Office publishes a quarterly trend report of data security incidents reported to them by organisations. 

Their 2021/22 Q3 report showed that 2,404 data security incidents had been self-reported by organisations.

What Personal Data Is Not Covered By The UK GDPR? 

The UK GDPR gives protection to personal data and personally sensitive data that relates to a person. 

This applies to: 

  • Data that a person can be directly identified from 
  • Data that a person can be identified from, when in use with other pieces of information 

Personal data that is protected may fit into two categories such as personal information and special category data. As we have discussed personal data is anything relating to you, the data subject, that can be used to identify you or use in conjunction with other information to identify you. Special category data relates to your health, ethnic origin or your race.

Your phone number directly relates to you and is information you can be directly identified from. It is protected by the UK GDPR and revealing your phone number can be a breach of the UK GDPR. 

Is Revealing My Phone Number A Breach Of UK GDPR? 

There are instances where revealing your phone number will not be a breach of the UK GDPR. This is because the organisation will have a valid and lawful reason for doing so. The UK GDPR sets out the six lawful bases for sharing information which are: 

  • Consent: In that you have given them consent to share your phone number 
  • Contractual Obligation: In that they revealed your number to fulfil a contract they had with you 
  • Legal Obligations: If they revealed your number to meet a legal obligation 
  • Vital Interest: If revealing your number was necessary to protect a life 
  • Public Interest: If it was in the public’s interest to reveal your phone number 
  • Legitimate Interest: The company has a legitimate and valid reason to share your phone number. 

Instances outside of this, or instances that do not properly fulfil the listed basis are instances where revealing your phone number can be a breach of the UK GDPR. 

What Can I Do If My Phone Number Has Been Revealed? 

The first action you can take after a data breach is to make a written complaint directly to the organisation responsible. It should be written so as to maintain evidence of both sides of the correspondence  

Before beginning any legal action, you can also report the organisation to the Information Commissioner’s Office; an independent body in the UK dealing with data protection rights. You should do this within three months of your last meaningful communication with the organisation. 

Data breach claims address two types of harm, financial harm (I.e. financial losses) and mental harm (psychological harm, such as stress or anxiety from the breach). 

If possible, maintain records of your financial losses and medical records as they can be used as evidence in your claim. A solicitor can help arrange an independent psychological assessment to produce a report as medical evidence. 

If an organisation breached the UK GDPR in revealing your phone number, and this led to you suffering harm please reach out to an adviser for information. 

How Much Could You Claim For Someone Revealing Your Phone Number As A Breach Of UK GDPR? 

For financial harm you can seek a compensation known as material damages. This can address any losses you may have suffered from the breach. 

For mental harm you would seek non-material damages, We’ve included a table of the psychological injuries from the Judicial College Guidelines to show you potential compensation awards for your claim. 

InjuryNotesAward
Psychological Damage
Severe CasesCompletely harming a person's ability to function in life and carry out relationships£54,830 to £115,730
Moderately Severe CasesSymptoms as above but with a better prognosis£19,070 to £54,830
Moderate CasesInitial symptoms as above but the claimant is now showing good recovery£5,860 to £19,070
Less Severe CasesDaily activities, such as sleep, were affected for a period of time£1,540 to £5,860
PTSD
Severe CasesA severe psychiatric disorder that prevents the person from normal function£59,860 to £100,670
Moderately Severe CasesSymptoms as above, but a better prognosis for recovery after receiving professional treatment £23,150 to £59,860
Moderate CasesThe claimant will be mostly recovered with any remaining symptoms being manageable£8,180 to £23,150
Less Severe CasesThe claimant will have more or less fully recovered within 2 years£3,950 to £8,180
 

Previously you would have had to have made a claim for financial losses, in order to make a claim for mental harm but following the decision in the Court of Appeal case, Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc (2015), you can now seek either type of compensation independently. 

If you are looking for an estimate specific to your claim, please reach out to one of our advisers. They can value your claim for merit, and offer you an estimation for compensation. 

Learn More About Whether Revealing Your Phone Number Is A Breach Of UK GDPR 

If you suffered harm from the exposure of your phone number and this happened because a data controller failed to comply with data protection laws, a No Win No Fee data breach solicitor can help you make a claim for compensation. 

This means you can work with a solicitor without having to pay an upfront fee, or any ongoing fees. Their fee only comes as a legally capped percentage of the compensation awarded if your claim is successful. If your claim is not successful, there is no compensation and you do not have to pay this fee. 

If you are interested in working with a data breach solicitor, please reach out to one of our advisers now by, 

References   

Below are some additional links you might find useful such as: 

ICO: A guide to taking your case to court and claiming compensation 

GOV: A guide to your data protection rights 

Action Fraud: A guide to mobile phone fraud scams you should watch out for, if your phone number has been exposed. 

Thank you for reading our guide to making a claim against an organisation for a breach of the UK GDPR in revealing your phone number. We offer guides on other topics such as:

Suing A Company For A Data Breach

Stolen Phone Data Breach Claims

Credit Card Data Breach Claims

Guide By Charles

Edited By Melissa.

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