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University Of London Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide – How Much Compensation Can I Claim? – Amounts For University Of London Data Breach

My Information Was Exposed In A University Of London Data Breach, Could I Claim Compensation?

If you’re looking for information about how to make a data breach claim against the University of London, the chances are, you may believe your personal data has been breached in some way, and you’ve suffered financial or emotional harm because of it.

Making a data breach compensation concerning the University of London is something that we at Legal Expert could help with—provided you can prove your case. This guide contains a wealth of information about the laws that universities must abide by when they collect, store and process your personal data. In the sections below, we highlight what could constitute personal data, how a breach of your data could happen, and how such a breach could affect you.

University Of London data breach claims guide

University Of London data breach claims guide

In addition to this, we also explain how it could be possible to claim for not only the financial harm caused by a University of London data breach but also the emotional harm.

We offer insight into how compensation for a possible data breach claim against the University of London could be calculated, and also explain the benefits of using a lawyer to make your claim.

If you have any questions after reading this guide, or you would like us to provide you with a No Win No Fee solicitor to help you start your claim, please call our expert advisors on 0800 073 8804.

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A Guide To Data Breach Claims Against The University Of London

A large number of people attend the University of London in some capacity, and whether you are a student, a member of staff, or one of the university’s alumni, you could expect them to hold at least some of your personal data.

As a data controller and processor, the University of London must abide by data protection laws such as the UK’s application of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which was enacted by the Data Protection Act 2018. If they do not, they could face investigation and enforcement actions by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK regulator for data protection.

If you are considering taking steps to report a breach of personal data, you might also want to consider making a data breach claim against the University of London if the personal data breach has caused you to suffer stress, anxiety or loss of sleep, or if it has cost you financially.

This guide has been created to help you understand such claims and work out whether you could be in a position to make a university data breach claim. In the sections below you can find out more about the data protection laws that universities must abide by.

We also reveal some previous personal data breach incidents that have affected universities in the UK, including the Blackbaud hack. In addition, we reveal the common risks that universities face when it comes to cybersecurity and data protection and offer some insight into how much you could claim if you’ve been affected by a University of London data protection breach.

What Is A Data Breach By The University Of London?

Before we explain what constitutes a breach of data protection in the UK, we should explain more about what personal data is, and the categories of data subject whose personal data should be protected.

What Is Personal Data?

The Information Commissioner’s Office states that personal data is information that relates to natural (living) persons who:

  • Could be identified by the data alone
  • Could be identified by using the data and combining it with other information

Many different pieces of information could be included in the list of personal data, including:

  • A name
  • An address
  • A date of birth
  • An identification number
  • An online identifier such as an IP address, for example

Categories Of Personal Data

Some personal data could be considered to be more sensitive than others, and a data controller should take steps to ensure sensitive personal data are given a higher level of protection. Sensitive personal information for UK data subjects could include:

  • Biometric data (used for the purpose of identification)
  • Ethnic origin
  • Genetic data
  • Health data
  • Political opinions
  • Religious or philosophical beliefs
  • Sex life
  • Sexual orientation
  • Trade union membership

What Could Constitute A Data Breach?

If you’re considering making a data breach claim against the University of London, you may have been harmed by the unlawful/unauthorised:

  • Transmission, alteration, storage, processing, access or disclosure of your data
  • A loss of availability of your personal data
  • Theft of your personal data
  • A loss of your personal data

How Could A London University Data Breach Occur?

It is important to recognise that a data breach by the University of London may not stem from a malicious act. Data breaches could be caused by someone inside or outside of the university, and they could be malicious, accidental, or due to negligence.

Some examples of incidents that could cause University of London data breaches include:

  • A ransomware attack
  • A hacking
  • A phishing attack
  • Employees sending an e-mail to the wrong recipients
  • Malware
  • Improper maintenance of computer equipment
  • Improper protection of network security
  • Loss of computer equipment that stores personal data
  • Theft of computer equipment that stores personal data

What Happens If You Breach GDPR in the UK?

If a university were to breach your personal data, this could lead to an ICO investigation, and the university could have enforcement action taken against them by the ICO. But a breach of your personal data could also cause you to suffer:

  • A loss of privacy (particularly if sensitive personal data was breached)
  • Emotional distress – this could include a loss of sleep, stress, anxiety and depression
  • Financial theft – if someone is able to use your personal data to access a bank account, for example, they could effectively steal money from you. They could also make fraudulent purchases using your data.
  • Identity theft – someone could use your personal information to apply for finance in your name.

If you have been emotionally or financially affected by a breach of your personal data, a data breach claim against the University of London could help recompense you for the emotional and financial damage you’d suffered, provided you can prove the breach and harm caused.

If you’re wondering whether you could be eligible to make such a claim, please get in touch with our expert advisors. We could provide you with a free, no-obligation data breach case assessment to see if you could be eligible for compensation.

Protecting Data Through The GDPR

The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) enshrines the GDPR into UK law. GDPR, or the General Data Protection Regulation, is currently the world’s most stringent data privacy and security law in the world.

As a data controller, a university has certain responsibilities under GDPR, which require it to ensure that:

  • Processing of personal information is lawful and fair
  • Collection of personal information is legitimate, explicit and specified
  • Processing of personal information is not excessive, relevant and adequate
  • Personal information is accurate and kept up to date
  • Personal information is kept only for as long as is necessary for its specified purpose
  • Personal information is secure

A breach of these responsibilities could lead to the Information Commissioner’s Office issuing enforcement penalties, which could include fines. The legislation also allows those who can prove non-material or material (financial) harm as a direct result of a London University data breach to claim compensation for the harm they’ve suffered.

How The Blackbaud Data Breach Impacted This University

In 2020, there was a cyberattack aimed at a database service provider that serviced several UK universities. The Blackbaud data incident, which involved a ransomware attack, meant that the personal data of staff, students and alumni of the University of London may have been stolen.

While an investigation is still ongoing at the time of posting, the Blackbaud data breach is not thought to have affected financial information of those data subjects whose personal data was accessed.

Source: https://universitybusiness.co.uk/headlines/data-breach-at-eight-uk-universities

What Is A Ransomware Attack?

The Blackbaud hack involved a ransomware attack, which is a hack that could mean that data is stolen, made unavailable, or insecure, for example. The perpetrator would ask the victim for a ransom for the return or destruction of the data. In the Blackbaud hack, the database company was confident, after paying the ransom, that the personal data was destroyed. However, it could still constitute a breach of personal data.

Not All Data Breaches Are Malicious

A data breach claim doesn’t have to stem from a data security incident involving a malicious attack. Sometimes, universities themselves have accidentally breached data. Examples include:

  • East Anglia University Data Breach – In 2017, a staff member’s personal information was mistakenly sent to around 300 of the university’s students. In addition to this, in another incident, the university exposed the data of some of its students when their sensitive personal information was mistakenly sent via e-mail to nearly 300 recipients. Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-41934027
  • Greenwich University Fine – The University was fined £120k by the Information Commissioner’s Office for breaching the data of almost 20,000 people when they mistakenly left a microsite containing personal data unprotected online.

Whatever the reason you’re considering making a data breach claim against the University of London, if you can prove the breach, why not get in touch with our team. If you are eligible to make a claim, we could provide you with legal support to recover the maximum compensation possible for your case.

Statistics On Universities Affected By Breaches Of Data Protection

The statistics surrounding data security at universities could be considered quite sobering in some cases. According to reports from IT Governance, a large number of UK universities don’t have a robust security training program in place.

They found that 54% of staff and 12% of students aren’t given training on mitigating threats to cybersecurity. Not only this but according to responses to a Freedom of Information Request, over half of UK universities had to report a data breach to the ICO in 2019.

It was also reported that when Jisc, an internet service provider that services a number of UK universities, conducted tests on the security of their systems, testers were able to gain access to over 50 universities’ systems in under two hours.

Source: https://www.itgovernance.co.uk/blog/54-of-universities-reported-a-data-breach-in-the-past-year

Criminal Cyber Hacks And Attacks

There are certain common risks to universities that should be considered when it comes to creating a robust data protection plan. These could include:

  • Data theft – While this could affect the personal information of staff, students and alumni, it could also affect research material. Cybercriminals could target sensitive research data and sell it on to others, or use it to further their own research. For example, in 2020, the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) revealed that it believed research into coronavirus vaccines was targeted by spies from Russia. (Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-53429506)
  • Password Attack – software that helps to guess authorised users’ login credentials could allow cybercriminals to gain unauthorised access to university systems.
  • Malware – Viruses and ransomware attacks could lead to breaches of personal data, but they could also allow cybercriminals to use university systems to launch further attacks.
  • A keystroke detector – If a keystroke detector is present on a system, it could be used by a cybercriminal to obtain login details so they could gain access to systems they are not authorised to access.
  • Phishing – A Redscan report revealed that this was one of the most dangerous methods of cyber attack. Phishing is where users are directed to fake sites that look genuine, where if they enter personal data, they allow a cybercriminal to access that data. (Source: https://www.redscan.com/media/The-state-of-cyber-security-across-UK-universities-Redscan-report.pdf)
  • DDoS attack – A Distributed Denial of Service attack could lead to the loss of access of authorised users to their data.

If you have been affected by a data breach by the University of London because of any of the above risks, or any other type of data breach, we could help you claim compensation for the psychological and financial harm caused by it.

How May I Be Compensated If Harmed By A Data Protection Breach?

A data breach claim against the University of London could involve different types of damages. Data Protection legislation allows victims of a data breach to claim for both material (financial) and non-material harm.

  • Material harm is the quantifiable financial expense caused by a University of London data breach. It could include compensation for money stolen, or purchases made fraudulently in your name, for example.
  • Non-material harm is the loss of privacy and psychological damage caused by the data breach.

Claiming For Psychological Damage From A Data Breach

The reason it could be possible for victims of data breaches to claim for a psychological injury they’ve suffered is that a legal precedent was set in a case heard in 2015. In Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015] – Court of Appeal, it was decided that compensation could be claimed for psychological injuries even in the absence of financial harm.

It was also advised that compensation for such injuries should be made with reference to personal injury law.

University Of London Data Breach Compensation Calculator

When calculating compensation for a data breach claim against the University of London, all the facts and evidence must be assessed. Evidence relating to material harm could include bank statements, credit card bills and other financial documents, but evidencing psychological damage and calculating compensation for such an injury could be a little more complex.

The Role Of Independent Assessments In Data Breach Claims

To evidence a psychological injury, as part of the claim, you would need to attend an appointment with an independent medic, who would go over your past medical notes where relevant, ask you questions about your injury, and determine a prognosis.

They would then submit a report verifying your injuries and detailing your prognosis. This document could be used by your solicitor to evidence your injuries and argue for a personal injury settlement.

To give you some idea of how much compensation might be appropriate for different levels of psychological injuries, we have created a table with figures taken from a publication known as the Judicial College Guidelines. This could be used by courts and lawyers to come to an appropriate compensation settlement.

Type of Psychological DamageSeverity of InjuryGuideline Compensation Bracket
General psychiatric InjuriesLess severeUp to £5,500
PTSD, Post-traumatic stress disorderLess severeUp to £7,680
General psychiatric InjuriesModerate£5,500 to £17,900
PTSD, Post-traumatic stress disorderModerate£7,680 to £21,730
General psychiatric injuriesModerately severe£17,900 to £51,460
PTSD, Post-traumatic stress disorderModerately severe£21,730 to £56,180
PTSD, Post-traumatic stress disorderSevere£56,180 to £94,470
General psychiatric injuriesSevere£51,460 to £108,620

For a more precise estimate, please contact our team directly.

How To Choose A Lawyer For Your Data Protection Case

If you’re looking to make a data breach claim against the University of London, you may be surprised to learn that you don’t necessarily require a lawyer. You could complain directly to the university and if the answer you receive from them is not satisfactory, or you don’t receive a response, you could escalate your data breach complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

However, many people prefer to use a lawyer to help them with their claim, as they could enjoy certain benefits by doing so, including:

  • The lawyer could ensure action was taken before the limitation period affecting their claim expired (6 years for a data breach, 1 year for a human rights breach)
  • The lawyer could complete much of the hard work of building a strong claim for compensation, which could mean less stress for the claimant
  • The lawyer could ensure all damages were claimed for and nothing was missed out
  • They could fight for the maximum settlement possible for the claimant

Finding A Lawyer For A Data Breach Claims Against The University of London

There are lots of different law firms across the UK that could handle a data breach claim for you, but we believe we’re in a better position than many to offer expert guidance and legal support when making such claims. If you choose Legal Expert to handle your claim, you could benefit from:

  • Many years of knowledge and experience in helping claimants get the compensation they deserve
  • Free expert advice via our freephone helpline
  • A free, no-obligation eligibility check
  • Great communication, and high-quality customer service

If you’re wondering whether we could live up to these claims, why not read our reviews. We’d be delighted to offer you the same great service our previous clients have enjoyed.

No Win No Fee Claims For Data Breach Claims Against The University Of London

If you’re ready to make a data breach claim against the University of London but are not sure you’d be able to (or don’t want to) pay upfront for your solicitor, then our No Win No Fee solicitors would be happy to help you.

To begin a No Win No Fee University of London data breach claim, you’d have to read and sign an agreement known as a Conditional Fee Agreement. This is effectively a contract between you and your lawyer, which promises them a success fee if they are able to obtain a compensation settlement for you.

This fee is usually calculated as a small percentage of your total settlement and is payable only if your claim is successful. Once your payout is arranged, the success fee would be deducted from it. If your case doesn’t result in a settlement, you would not have to pay any success fee, nor would you have to cover your solicitor’s costs.

If you would like to talk to us in more detail about making a No Win No Fee claim, we’d be happy to help. Alternatively, we have produced a handy guide explaining more about how these claims work.

Speaking To Data Breach Case Experts

After reading this guide, do you feel that you could have a claim for a University of London data breach? Do you have questions, or would you like us to assess your case and provide you with a solicitor to help you claim compensation for the harm you’ve suffered? Whatever you need, we’re here to help. You can reach us:

Data Breach Claim Resources

What Data Does The University Have About Me?– To find out what data your university holds on you, you can make a subject access request. This page shows you how to do so.

How Do I Report Data Protection Breaches – You can read about how to do this here.

I’m Concerned About My Data–  If you have concerns, this guide on the ICO website could show you what actions you could take.

Claims Guide For Data Losses – If you’re data has been lost, this guide gives some insight into whether you could make a claim.

How To Claim For Data Breach Stress – This guide offers more insight into claiming for psychological harm caused by a data breach.

Maximising Your Settlement – This guide shows you what evidence might be needed to ensure you get all fo the compensation your case deserves.

Thank you for reading our guide to making a data breach claim against the University of London.

 

Guide by Jeffries

Edited by Billing

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