Journalist Data Breach – How To Claim Compensation

This is a guide to examining if you could make a claim if a journalist data breach compromises your personal data. There are two entities that generally have responsibility over your personal data. Data controllers lay out the purposes and means for personal data processing, and data processors follow their instructions. Both must adhere to data protection laws. However, technically a journalist is not a data controller or processor. 

To make a personal data breach claim, there must have been failings on the part of the media organisation that the journalist works for to comply with data protection laws. A media company or organisation will usually be the data controller. Freelance journalists will have obligations that they must comply with.

Journalist data breach

Journalist data breach claims guide

There are two pieces of legislation under which data controllers and processors have a responsibility to protect personal data:

Continue reading to learn more about the responsibilities media companies have to keep your personal data safe. 

You can also contact a member of our team at any time for free and confidential advice regarding personal data breach claims. They can provide insight into whether you could be eligible to receive data breach compensation.

To do this:

  • Call our advisors on 0800 073 8804
  • Contact us by filling in our online form
  • Write to an advisor using the live chat feature below

Select A Section

  1. What Is A Journalist Data Breach?
  2. How Could A Media Company Breach Your Personal Data?
  3. How To Prove A Media Company Breached Your Personal Data
  4. Could I Claim For A Journalist Data Breach?
  5. What Damages Could You Claim For After A Media Company Data Breach?
  6. How To Claim For A Personal Data Breach

What Is A Journalist Data Breach? nb

First, to define a personal data breach, we must explain what is meant by personal data. To do this, we will look at the definition provided by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which is an independent UK body responsible for upholding information rights. Personal data is any information that can be used to identify you either directly or indirectly. This includes your:

Furthermore, Article 9 of the UK GDPR also outlines a second category of personal data called special category data, which is more sensitive and therefore necessitates extra protective measures. This involves data relating to your:

  • Philosophical and religious beliefs
  • Political opinions
  • Race and ethnic origin
  • Health, such as medical records
  • Sexual orientation

A personal data breach is broadly defined by the ICO as a security incident affecting the confidentiality, availability or integrity of personal data. To learn whether you could be eligible to bring forward a personal data breach claim, please speak to a member of our team.

How Could A Media Company Breach Your Personal Data? 

Under the data protection laws, data controllers and processors must protect the personal data that they handle. Failure to keep this data secure in line with data protection laws can make them liable should a breach occur and cause a data subject harm.

But how could a personal data breach occur?

  • The data controller sends your personally processed data to the wrong address.
  • A wrong fax or email is used when a data controller is sending personal information
  • A device containing personal data is lost or stolen as the data controller fails to keep it secure.
  • If there are inadequate cyber security defences, then cyber criminals can hack databases and steal personal data.

If your personal data has been breached, resulting in you suffering mental injury or financial losses, please speak to a member of our team.

How To Prove A Media Company Breached Your Personal Data  

There is a process you can follow after a data breach compromises your personal data and causes you harm. A data controller should notify the ICO within 72 hours of discovering a data breach that puts the rights and freedoms of data subjects at risk. They should also inform you without undue delay. In these circumstances, or in the event that you have not been notified but suspect a breach has occurred that compromises your personal data, you could take the following steps:

  • First, contact the media organisation directly and enquire about the data breach.
  • Then, if they respond in a non-satisfactory way, you may want to make a complaint to the ICO. Should they investigate your complaint, any findings could be used as evidence to strengthen your claim. The ICO cannot award compensation.
  • At the same time, we recommend that you seek legal advice.

To learn more about proving a journalist data breach, please speak to our team of advisors. They are available 24/7 to provide legal advice at no cost.  

Could I Claim For A Journalist Data Breach

The UK GDPR creates an avenue for people harmed due to a personal data breach to pursue a claim for compensation. Article 82 outlines the criteria of eligibility that must be met to bring forward a claim. This is as follows: 

  • There must have been failings on the part of those responsible for handling your personal data to comply with data protection laws, which led to a breach.
  • This breach must have involved your personal data.
  • As a result, you suffered either psychological injury or financial losses.

Please be aware that journalism is exempt from parts of the UK GDPR, so to learn whether you could be eligible to bring forward a claim, please speak to one of our advisors. They can offer insight into eligibility, liability and the amount of compensation you could be eligible to receive.

What Damage Could You Claim For After A Media Company Data Breach

There are two potential heads of a successful personal data breach claim for which you could receive compensation:

  • Non-material damage – The mental injuries you suffer due to the personal data breach. This could include stress, anxiety, depression and, in severe cases, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Material damage – The monetary losses incurred as a result of the personal data breach. This could, for example, be damage to your credit score or money stolen from your accounts due to criminal activity, such as identity theft. It is important that you retain evidence of this damage as proof, such as a record of your credit history, bank records or payslips.

We have referred to the 16th edition Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to provide the table below as a guide to potential non-material damage compensation brackets. This document was updated in April 2022. Data breach solicitors, and other legal professionals, can refer to the JCG to assist them in valuing the compensation for personal data breach claims.

Edit
Injury Potential Award Comments
Psychiatric Injury – Severe (a) £54,830 to £115,730 The person will have marked problems in relation to their relationships and ability to cope with daily life. For injuries within this bracket, the person’s prognosis will be very poor.
Psychiatric Injury – Moderately Severe (b) £19,070 to £54,830 The person will have significant problems in relation to their relationships and ability to cope with daily life. For injuries within this bracket, the person’s prognosis will be much more optimistic.
Psychiatric Injury – Moderate (c) £5,860 to £19,070 Although similar problems to the bracket above will have been caused, there will be marked improvements by the time of trial and there will be a good prognosis.
Psychiatric Injury – Less Severe (d) £1,540 to £5,860 Taken into consideration will be the extent that daily life was affected and how long this lasted.
Anxiety Disorder – Severe (a) £59,860 to £100,670 The injury will have permanent effects that stop the person from functioning to the same level as before the trauma. Their life will be badly affected in all aspects.
Anxiety Disorder – Moderately Severe (b) £23,150 to £59,860 This bracket stands apart from the one above due to the better prognosis for some recovery with the aid of a professional.
Anxiety Disorder – Moderate (c) £8,180 to £23,150 The person will be considered to have largely recovered and any effects that persist will not be grossly disabling.
Anxiety Disorder – Less Severe (d) £3,950 to £8,180 A virtually full recovery will have been made within 1 to 2 years. Following this, only minor symptoms may persist.

For an estimation of the settlement, you could be eligible to receive for a data breach involving your personal information, use our compensation calculator. Additionally, speak to one of our advisors for more information about pursuing compensation.

How To Claim For A Personal Data Breach 

For an assessment of your claim and advice on the future steps, you could take, please speak to one of our advisors. Should they find that you may have valid grounds to claim for a journalist data breach, they could place you in contact with one of our experienced solicitors, who could offer to represent you under a type of No Win No Fee Agreement called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

This would mean that you generally wouldn’t have to make any payments for your solicitor’s services upfront, during the ongoing claim or in the event your claim does not succeed.

On the other hand, a successful claim will commonly see a No Win No Fee data breach solicitor receive a small percentage of the compensation. This is capped by legislation. Therefore, being overcharged is not a concern.

To speak to our team at Legal Expert today, you can:

  • Call us on 0800 073 8804
  • Contact us by filling in our online form
  • Write to an advisor using the live chat feature below

Similar Data Breach Claims n

Please explore more of the guides from our site:

Also, take a look through these external sources:

Thank you for reading this guide to making a claim for the harm you have suffered due to a journalist data breach.

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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