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My Ethnicity Was Disclosed In A Data Breach – Can I Make A Claim?

Has your ethnicity been exposed in a personal data breach? If so, this guide may have important information on whether you could be eligible to make an ethnicity data breach claim.

The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 are both pieces of data protection legislation. The UK GDPR states that information about your race or ethnicity is special category data. Special category data means that the information is of a sensitive nature. So, what happens if an organisation breached sensitive data? Moreover, can you make a data breach claim if you suffer emotional harm because of the exposure?

Ethnicity data breach

Ethnicity data breach

Under the UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018, victims of a personal data breach can claim compensation if they have experienced emotional distress or psychiatric injuries. However, this is only if you can prove that a party was liable for the breach.

Legal Expert can provide you with an experienced data breach lawyer who can manage your data breach claim. Our solicitors have solid experience handling claims for a data breach. And what’s more, you will have the option to make a No Win No Fee claim.

To begin your compensation claim, please get in touch with us using the details below:

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What Is An Ethnicity Data Breach?

A personal data breach is a security incident whereby personal or special category data is lost, destroyed, stolen, accessed, disclosed without authorisation, through deliberate action or by human error. Therefore, an ethnicity data breach is a breach that compromises the security of information about the data subject’s race or ethnic group. Human error can cause a data breach. Or a bad actor may deliberately carry out a data breach.

Examples of how a data breach can take place:

  • The organisation loses the data, deletes or alters it in a security incident
  • A malicious actor steals the data
  • An employee shares personal data with people who have no authority to see it
  • The organisation loses devices with stored personal data that are not password protected.

Under certain circumstances, you can claim compensation for a personal data breach. Firstly, the data controller, generally organisations that say why and how data is processed, failed to adequately protect such information. Secondly, you must have experienced emotional distress, psychological injuries or financial losses because of the data breach. For example, you may have developed PTSD or suffered from depression or lost money.

Please get in touch with Legal Expert to discuss your situation, and see if you have ground to claim.

What Is Special Category Data Under The UK GDPR?

Under the UK GDPR, special category data is personal data of a sensitive nature. Organisations must only collect personal data when there is a lawful basis. And what’s more, with special category data the organisation may need to apply additional safeguards to protect the data.

Special category data examples include:

  • Race and ethnicity
  • Political opinions
  • Sex or gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religious or philosophical beliefs
  • Genetic data
  • Biometric data
  • Information regarding one’s health

Who Could Hold Your Ethnicity Data?

Lots of forms you may fill in could ask about your ethnicity. It is vital that when a data controller handles this type of data for processing they add extra precautions to protect it.

Parties that may collect your ethnicity data include:

  • Your employer
  • A local council
  • Social services
  • The police force
  • A trade union
  • A public body or government organisation

You may have grounds to make an employer data breach claim if your employer is liable for a breach that exposes personal information about you. This can be data that can directly identify you or information that could be used in conjunction with other data to identify you. Likewise, if a data controller failed to adhere to data protection laws and this results in a breach that causes you harm you may be able to claim compensation from them.

How To Report An Ethnicity Data Breach

If an organisation has breached your personal data and this affects your rights and freedoms, they will normally notify the Information Commissioner’s Office within 72 hours. They must inform you without undue delay.

However, if you believe you have discovered a data breach, you should raise your concerns with the organisation. So, please contact the data protection officer or relevant department to make your complaint as soon as possible. Normally, an organisation will be able to resolve the matter internally.

If the organisation does not resolve the matter, you can report the data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO is the public body responsible for upholding the data security laws in the UK. The Information Commissioner’s Office may investigate the sensitive data breach and issue the organisation with a fine. However, they do not award compensation.

Call our data breach advisors to have you case looked over for free. You can contact Legal Expert to enquire about making a data breach claim today.

How Could An Organisation Breach Your Ethnicity Data?

Organisations are responsible for safeguarding personal data. Moreover, employers and other organisations should take special care to protect special categories of personal data. Unfortunately, there are many ways that an organisation could cause an ethnic data breach.

Organisations should comprehensively train their staff on how to correctly handle personal data properly. If there is a lack of training on data security then there is room for a data breach to occur.

Human error is one of the main causes of personal data breaches. For example, an HR data breach could happen if an employee’s employment file is left on a desk for anyone to access. This file could include lots of personal data including information about the employee’s ethnicity.

Data breaches can also happen because of malicious actors. For example, hackers may use malware to gain unlawful access to a company’s employee database. Subsequently, the hackers may use the stolen sensitive data to blackmail the company or employees. Therefore potentially causing emotional distress of financial losses.

Data Protection Breach Statistics

According to statistics and reports by the ICO, in financial Q3 2021/22, organisations reported 2,404 data security incidents to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Moreover, 631 were cyber incidents, and 1,773 incidents were not cyber-related.

Ethnicity Data Breach Claims Calculator

In successful personal data breach compensation claims, you can be awarded up to two heads of loss:

  • Material damages – compensation for any financial losses incurred
  • Non-material damages – is compensation for any emotional distress or psychological injuries suffered

You can use the table below to estimate how much compensation you can claim for non-material damages. We have used guidelines from the Judicial College to create the table. However, your final compensation settlement may vary from the compensation amounts in the table. So please call us to inquire about your compensation settlement.

Harm CausedAboutCompensation
Severe Psychiatric DamageThere will be marked issues with all parts of the person's life, from social to working, education or relationships.£51,460 to £108,620
Moderately Severe Psychiatric DamageVictims face significant difficulty in the areas highlighted above but they do have a more optimistic prognosis.£17,900 to £51,460
Moderate Psychiatric DamageThe same aspects of this person's life have been affected. However, they will have made a significant recovery by the time a claim goes to trial.£5,500 to £17,900
Less Severe Psychiatric DamageCompensation amounts are based on how seriously this person has been affected as well as how serious the symptoms were.£1,440 to £5,500
Severe Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderAll parts of this person's life have been impacted, including their ability to work and maintain relationships.£56,180 to £94,470
Moderately Severe Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderThe injury has caused significant disabilities and may do so for a significant amount of time. They have a better chance at recovery if they have professional help.£21,730 to £56,180
Moderate Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderThere should not be any symptoms which may be considered grossly disabling.£7,680 to £21,730
Less Severe Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderThe injured party should have virtually recovered in 12 - 24 months.£3,710 to £7,680

Find Out How To Make A No Win No Fee Claim

All our data breach solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis. When you call about your ethnicity data breach case our advisors will assess the merits of the claim in a free consultation. When they can see that the case may succeed in a successful outcome they will offer to appoint one of our solicitors.

A No Win No Fee service will require you to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). There is no upfront fee for the solicitor to start work on your case. Instead, you will pay a success fee if you win your claim. However, you won’t pay a success fee if you do not win your claim.

To begin your No Win No Fee data breach claim, please get in touch with Legal Expert using the details below:

  • Ask us a question right now, using our Live Support widget
  • Call our compensation claims helpline on 0800 073 8804
  • Or you can use our online claims form to begin

Where To Read More

We appreciate that you have taken the time to read our guide on ethnicity data breaches. In addition to our article, here is some more information about data privacy breaches.

Human Error Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide

Pharmacy Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide

Do Data Breach Protection Solicitors Offer No Win No Fee Claims?

A government guide on what PAYE information employers can keep on employees

An ICO guide to claiming compensation for a data breach and taking your case to court

Information about your data protection rights under the UK GDPR

Thank you for reading our guide on whether you can claim compensation for an ethnicity data breach.

Guide By Chelache

Edited By Melissa.

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