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Harper Adams University Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide – How Much Compensation Can I Claim? – Amounts For Harper Adams University Data Breach

How To Claim For A Data Breach By Harper Adams University

If you’re a student at Harper Adams University or a former student or member of staff, the university may have at least some of your personal data on file. But what happens if there is a data breach by Harper Adams University and your personal data is lost, stolen, or distributed without your permission?

data breach by Harper Adams University

If you have suffered financially or psychologically because of a data breach, you could be eligible to claim compensation.

We created this guide to explain how such breaches could occur and how they could affect you. We take a look at how universities should protect your personal data and what data protection laws they must adhere to. In addition, we show you what’s needed to prove data breach claims against Harper Adams University. And we look at how the compensation process could be less stressful if you choose to work with one of our data breach solicitors.

If you have any questions about claiming, or you are ready to get started with a claim, you can call our advisors on 0800 073 8804. All advice given is free of charge and comes with no obligation to use our services.

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A Guide To Data Breach Claims Against Harper Adams University

The law requires all UK organisations that process and hold personal data to protect that data. Universities are no different. But what happens if a data breach by Harper Adams University means your privacy is violated, and your personal data is altered, lost, stolen or made unavailable?

What are the consequences of such a breach, and could you make a claim for compensation if this happens to you?

We put this guide together to help you if you’ve suffered psychologically or financially because of a data breach. In the sections that follow, we explain what laws protect your personal data and how a university data breach in the UK could lead to compensation.

We also look at some data breach examples of incidents that have already affected UK universities, and what actions the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has taken in regards to data breaches by universities.

Finally, we explain how university data breach compensation could be calculated. And we explore how a solicitor could help maximise the amount of compensation you could receive for a data breach claim against a university.

What Is A Data Breach Claim Against Harper Adams University?

Information security is something that universities should take very seriously indeed, especially when it comes to the personal data security of staff, students and alumni. After all, there are laws in place to protect such data. These include arguably the strongest data security regulation in the world, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the Data Protection Act 2018, which replaced the Data Protection Act 1998, in order to come into line with GDPR.

Breaches of these laws that cause distress, anxiety and similar mental conditions or financial harm to victims could lead to fines and other enforcement actions from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). They could also lead to a university data breach claim. But what personal information is protected, how can people breach it and what could happen if you are the victim of a data breach by Harper Adams University? Let us explain.

What Personal Data Is Protected?

According to the ICO, personal information is data that relates to living people who:

  • Could be identified by it directly.
  • Could be identified by it if it is combined with other data.

Some examples of personal data could include your name, your address or contact details, your online identifiers, such as your IP address and financial information too.

What Constitutes A Breach?

GDPR states that a data breach incident is one where personal data is:

  • Subject to unauthorised access, alteration, disclosure, processing, storage or transmission
  • Stolen
  • Made unavailable
  • Lost

There are instances where someone in control of your data doesn’t need your consent to use it. 

How Could A Data Breach By Harper Adams University Happen?

A university data breach could involve:

  • Unlawful interception of data
  • Human error
  • Password sharing
  • Hacking
  • Phishing
  • Lost or stolen computer equipment that has personal data stored on it
  • A cyber attack
  • Malware
  • Negligent maintenance of computer equipment
  • Ransomware (such as the Blackbaud Hack which we describe later on in this guide)
  • Viruses

These are just a few examples of how higher education data breaches could occur. As you can see, not all of them are due to malicious behaviour; some could be accidental. They could also happen due to someone inside the organisation or someone outside of it.

How Could A Data Breach Affect You

If you’ve been the victim of a data breach, you may have been affected in a number of ways:

  • Financial theft – if physical data theft has occurred, this could lead to someone gaining access to your bank accounts. They could make fraudulent withdrawals or purchase items using your financial information.
  • Identity theft – some data incidents may lead to a third party being able to use your personal data to apply for credit/loans in your name.
  • Privacy loss – you may feel that your privacy has been violated. Someone may have accessed research material. Or someone may have disclosed sensitive information without your permission.
  • Emotional distress – whether you have suffered financial harm or not, you may have been affected emotionally by a data breach. It may have caused you anxiety, stress or loss of sleep, for example.

If you can prove you’ve been harmed due to a data breach by Harper Adams University, we could assess your claim for free to see if you could be eligible to claim compensation. We could also put you in touch with our data breach solicitors. Call our advisors on the number at the top of the page for more information.

Examples Of How A University Could Breach The GDPR

As we mentioned, GDPR is an incredibly strong data privacy and security regulation. It came into effect in May 2018 and protects the personal information of every EU data subject. Even though we’ve left the EU, the GDPR applies to the UK through the Data Protection Act 2018.

Universities must abide by the Data Protection Act 2018 as they process and hold data and, as such, they must abide by the following 7 principles:

  • Accountability
  • Accuracy
  • Confidentiality/Integrity
  • Fairness, lawfulness and transparency
  • Limitation of purpose
  • Limitation of storage
  • Minimisation

What Happens If A Data Breach Breaches GDPR?

There can be heavy penalties for those that do not comply with GDPR. In the UK, the organisation that enforces data protection law is the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). They can investigate a data security incident and invoke enforcement actions that could include fining the university. The ICO determines fines on a case by case basis. 

GDPR also allows for victims of data breach incidents to claim compensation for financial and psychological harm they have experienced due to the breach.

Has Harper Adams University Suffered A Data Protection Breach?

Unfortunately, there have been incidents where UK universities have had data breaches. Included below are some examples:

Blackbaud University Data Hack

Early in 2020, a cloud computing provider that services several UK universities was subjected to a cyberattack that involved ransomware. The attackers held the details of staff, students and alumni of several universities.

Blackbaud paid the ransom and the company was confident that the data that had been stolen was destroyed. Some of the universities said to have been affected were:

  • The University of Reading
  • The University of Leeds
  • University College, Oxford
  • The University of York
  • The University of Exeter
  • Oxford Brookes University
  • The University of London
  • Loughborough University

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-53528329

Other Data Incidents Affecting Universities

In addition to this, other universities in the UK have been affected by breaches. Some examples include:

  • The University of Greenwich being fined £120,000 for breaching personal data relating to nearly 20,000 subjects.
  • University of East Anglia having to pay students £140,000 in compensation for sending an email with personal details to other students. 

Whether you have suffered harm due to an incident similar to the above, or due to a data breach, we could help assess whether you could be eligible to claim compensation.

Rates Of Data Breaches In Universities

According to research by internet security firm Redscan, a Freedom of Information request in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, revealed that more than half of 86 UK university respondents had reported data breaches to the ICO in 2019/20.

In the same study, they reveal that under 50% of university staff have received training on data security awareness. And just over half of the universities proactively provided training for students.

Perhaps most shockingly, the report also reveals that the digital solutions provider Jisc were able to gain access to university data from over 50 universities, each within the space of just 2 hours.

Source: https://www.redscan.com/news/state-of-cybersecurity-uk-universities-foi-report/

Criminal Cybersecurity And Data Protection Breaches

It’s clear that universities must have a robust data protection policy in place to guard against breaches of personal data. There are some common risks that universities should guard against, including:

  • Theft of personal data – data theft could have a number of unwanted consequences, such as financial theft and identity theft, for example.
  • Ransomware attacks – ransomware attacks could be very profitable for hackers and could be very costly for a university.
  • Viruses and malware – malware and viruses could cause data to be lost, stolen, made unavailable or altered, for example.
  • Phishing – phishing attacks are a common way for cybercriminals to gain access to authorised users’ accounts. They involve directing users to fake websites set up to look genuine. When a user inputs their login information, the perpetrator could then gain access to university systems.
  • Password attacks – guessing passwords means that a third party could gain access via an authorised account.
  • Keystroke recording attacks – software could record an authorised user’s input of their username and password, which could allow a third party to gain access to systems.
  • Denial of service – these types of attack could lead to authorised users not being able to access important and sensitive information.

All of these threats should be mitigated. And universities should have a system for reporting data breaches and minimising the effects that they have.

What Types Of Compensation May You Be Eligible To Claim?

There are two forms of damage that you could claim as a victim of a data breach. These include:

Material damages – if someone has used your bank details to steal from you, for example,  because of a data breach, you could seek compensation for the financial impact.

Non-material damages – having your personal data accessed could feel a little like being robbed. The psychological effects of being robbed have long been recognised. You could claim compensation for anxiety, stress and depression caused by a data breach incident if you have been affected in this way.

Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015]

The reason you could claim for psychological damage caused by a data breach without having to claim for financial damage too is that a legal precedent was set in 2015, in the above case.

The Court of Appeal discussed the issue of compensating victims of data breaches for psychological injuries when there is no financial loss. It opened the path for claimants to pursue compensation for stress, anxiety and depression caused by a data breach.

Calculating Compensation For A Data Protection Breach By A University

When you claim compensation for the financial damage caused to you by a data breach, this could involve evidence such as bank statements and credit card statements. However, the evidence for non-material damage would likely involve a medical report. 

As part of your data breach claim, you would need to see an independent medical expert. You would attend an appointment where the specialist would ask you about your condition and would study any available medical notes you have.

They may ask you to describe your suffering, whether you have lost sleep and how else the breach has affected you. The expert would put together a report that could be used to verify that your injuries were caused by the data breach. It would also describe your prognosis. Your lawyer could then use it to evidence your case and determine an appropriate settlement amount.

How Much Could I Receive?

Compensation differs on a case by case basis. It involves looking at all the evidence and facts surrounding your claim. However, the table below offers some insight into how much could be appropriate for varying levels of psychological injury as a consequence of a data breach.

The figures we’ve used come from the Judicial College Guidelines. This is a publication that solicitors and the courts could use to calculate appropriate settlements. We hope you find it useful.

Injury typeCompensation BracketLevel of severity
General psychiatric injuries£51,460 to £108,620Severe
General psychiatric injuries£17,900 to £51,460Moderately severe
General psychiatric injuries£5,500 to £17,900Moderate
General psychiatric injuriesUp to £5,500Less severe
PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorders)£56,180 to £94,470Severe
PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorders)£21,730 to £56,180Moderately severe
PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorders)£7,680 to £21,730Moderate
PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorders)Up to £7,680Less severe

If you’d like a more precise estimate, please get in touch with our team of data breach advisers.

How Do Claims For Breaches Of Data Protection Work?

We must mention that you don’t legally need a lawyer to claim for a data breach. You could opt to claim directly from the university.

If you do decide to go ahead with raising your concerns to the university, the ICO has some advice on what to include within your letter.

We should mention that if you are claiming compensation for a data breach, there are also some limitation periods you should be aware of. If your human rights have been breached, you have 1 year to claim. Whereas for data breach claims you could have 6 years from the date you obtained knowledge of the breach.

Why Consider Using Professional Help

Many claimants prefer to use a solicitor to help them make data breach claims. There are some benefits to accessing legal support when you make a claim. These could include:

  • Letting the solicitor take on all the hard legal work of proving your claim.
  • Having a professional negotiate compensation on your behalf.
  • Ensuring you don’t miss out on the compensation you may be entitled to claim.

Where To Find A Solicitor

Here at Legal Expert, we are aware of how many choices you have when it comes to law firms offering help with data breach claims. However, we believe we represent a great choice for those looking to claim for the unwelcome effects of a data breach. Some of the benefits of using Legal Expert to make your claim could include:

  • We have years of experience helping claimants get the compensation they deserve in a variety of different cases.
  • Our expert advisors are on hand to offer support and guidance and we could even offer a free case check to assess your eligibility to claim.
  • If we believe your case could result in a compensation settlement for you, we could offer you the services of one of our expert solicitors, who could fight for the compensation you deserve for your data breach claim.
  • All of our solicitors require no upfront payment to start work on your claim, as they all work under No Win No Fee payment terms.
  • Our previous clients have attested to the quality of our service. You can read our reviews here.

We could help you if you can prove a data breach harmed you. Why not call our team today to see if you could claim?

No Win No Fee Claims For A Data Breach By Harper Adams University

If you’re looking to claim for a data breach and you’d like to do so under No Win No Fee terms, this is something we could help with.

Making a No Win No Fee claim doesn’t involve any upfront payment to your lawyer. Instead, they’d ask you to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (the formal name for a No Win No Fee agreement). This means you’d be agreeing to pay a fee to your lawyer only if your case resulted in compensation.

The agreement document would tell you how much of a success fee you’d pay. It is usually worked out as a small percentage of your compensation and is subject to a legal cap. Once signed, your solicitor would begin to fight for compensation on your behalf. 

If for some reason, your case loses, you would not pay the solicitor the success fee, nor would you pay any of their fees that have accrued representing you.

We have produced a more detailed guide on No Win No Fee claims, which you can read here. If you have questions you’d like answered over the phone, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Contact A Claims Expert

If you’d like us to help you claim for a data breach, or have any questions, we’d be glad to talk to you. You can reach us by:

Find Out More

Data Breach Stresshere, we explain data breach stress in more detail and offer more insight into claiming for it.

Maximising Compensationhere, we offer some insight into the evidence you’d need to maximise a compensation payout.

Employees And Data Breacheshere, you can find information about claiming for a data breach if your employer has caused one.

What Laws Does ICO Enforce?from the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, you can find out what laws and regulations the ICO enforces here.

Guidance For Organisationsfind out what organisations should do if they suspect there has been a data breach.

Concerns About Your Datamore guidance from the ICO about raising a concern about how your data is used.

Thank you for reading our guide to data breach claims by Harper Adams University.

Written by Jeffries

Edited by Victorine

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