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

Welcome to our guide to the legal justifications behind making a data breach claim against the University of the West of England, Bristol. If your personal data has been exposed, causing you to suffer damage to your mental health or finances, you could be entitled to data breach compensation.

University of the West of England data breach claims guide

The University of the West of England data breach claims guide

The University of the West of England has a legal obligation to protect your personal information. Our guide explains what a data breach is, how one could occur and the laws that protect private data.

How To Claim For A Data Breach At The University Of The West Of England, Bristol

We go into the legal obligations of data controllers and processors and how they must be GDPR compliant. The guide also offers information on the role of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), and how they enforce data protection law.

We offer advice on how much a data breach claim against the University of the West of England, Bristol could be worth. In addition, we provide information on the forms of compensation you could claim.

To find out how Legal Expert can help you make a successful claim, please continue reading our guide. Alternatively, if you have any questions, please call one of our expert advisers on our freephone number 0800 073 8804. A member of the team will provide you with free legal advice.

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A Guide To Data Breach Claims Against The University Of The West Of England

Organisations collect, process, and store your personal data and they do so routinely. Universities do the same for students, staff, and anyone connected to their facility. A university is a ‘data controller’ and they must follow data protection law. This includes the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

If a university does not abide by the law you have the right to sue for data breach compensation. We have put together this guide to provide information and advice on what to do if you are the victim of a data breach. The guide explains how the ICO defines a data breach, and how incidents must be reported.

Finally, you will find information on how you could make a No Win No Fee data breach claim, and we explain how such agreements work.

The Time Limits to Making a Data Breach Claim

The statutory time limit for making a data breach claim against the University of the West of England is 6 years from the date you acquired knowledge of the breach. If your human rights are impacted the time limit is much shorter being 1 year from the date of awareness.

We recommend that you make a data breach claim as soon as possible to prevent a case from being time-barred. To explain, even if you have a valid data breach claim, if you miss the deadline you will not be able to seek compensation for the harm you were caused.

Please get in touch with a member of the Legal Expert team to determine which time limit applies to your data breach claim. We offer free legal advice and once we find you have strong grounds to sue, we will introduce you to our specialist No Win No Fee solicitors.

What Is A Breach In Data Protection At The University Of The West Of England?

A data breach could happen in many ways. It could be due to a cyber-attack, or because a physical file is not locked safely away. If personal information is accessed without permission, whether an incident is internal or external, it would be deemed compromised.

Personal information that is unlawfully accessed could be:

  • Modified/altered
  • Copies made
  • Deleted
  • Stolen and sold on

The cause of the breach could be due to any of the following events:

  • Receiving phishing emails
  • Malware
  • Spyware
  • Ransomware
  • Man-in-the-Middle attacks
  • DDoS attacks (Distributed Denial of Service attacks)
  • Vulnerabilities in cybersecurity
  • Theft of devices/computers
  • Files not locked in filing cabinets

Criminals and hackers use sophisticated tools to breach vulnerabilities in a university’s cybersecurity. However, cybercriminals target third party service providers too. One example being the Blackbaud data breach in which the company, which acts as a data processor for a number of UK universities, was targeted with a ransomware attack.

To find out who could be held responsible for a University of the West of England data breach, please get in touch with a member of the Legal Expert team today.

The Consequences Of A Data Breach

When your personal data is compromised it might not immediately be apparent and may not result in serious consequences. However, cybercriminals may use your data or sell it on and it could lead to:

  • Identity theft
  • Financial losses
  • Fraud

The consequences of a data breach could be devastating and permanent, more especially if your name, address, contact information, bank details, and/or passport number is unlawfully accessed. You may develop serious mental issues as a result of a breach, such as stress or depression.

To find out whether you have grounds to make a data breach claim against the University of the West of England, please call an adviser today.

Do Universities Need To Follow GDPR Rules?

Universities must follow data protection law to be GDPR compliant. Whether a breach is accidental or due to a malicious act, a university must abide by 7 key principles regarding data protection law which are:

  • Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency – universities must have good cause to hold personal information. Data controllers must be transparent on how data is used
  • Purpose limitation – data controllers must have valid reasons to use personal data
  • Data limitation – the minimum amount of data should be gathered and held
  • Accuracy – personal data must be correct and kept up to date
  • Storage limitation – personal data must only be stored for as long as it is required and no longer
  • Confidentiality and integrity – personal data must be protected and kept secure
  • Accountability – data controllers and processors must be compliant with data protection law

If a university or third party service provider is found non-compliant and your personal data is compromised, you could sue for compensation if as a consequence you suffer damage to your mental health or finances. Data protection law gives you the right to make a claim.

Your Other Rights

  • To ask for a copy of the personal data stored – Right of Access
  • Request that data be deleted – Right to Erasure
  • Know how your data is being used – Right to Information
  • Prevent data being used in specific ways – Right to Restriction of Processing
  • To have data corrected – Right to Rectification
  • Ask that data be sent to you – Right to Portability
  • Object to how data is used – Right to Object
  • Stop automated business processes – Right to Avoid Automated Decision-making

To find out whether you have a valid data breach claim, please get in touch with a member of our team on the number at the top of the page.

What Universities Have Been Impacted By Data Security Breaches?

A number of universities in the UK have been affected by data breaches over recent times. A security firm, Redscan sent out a Freedom of Information request to universities and of those that responded, the survey found the following:

  • 54% of universities reported a data breach in a 12 month period
  • Only a quarter of universities confirmed that they’d contracted a third-party provider to conduct penetration testing on security systems
  • Around 54% of university staff have received data security training

Universities often carry out sensitive research work and therefore, they can be targeted by cybercriminals. If a university’s cybersecurity has vulnerabilities, hackers will take advantage of them.

If an organisation is found liable for a data breach, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has the power to issue hefty fines. The ICO enforces data protection law in the UK.

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

The Blackbaud Data Breach 2020

The Blackbaud data breach was a serious event that affected many universities in the UK. Students, alumni, staff, and other people connected to the university were negatively impacted by the breach.

Blackbaud is a third-party service provider connected to many higher education institutions and charities. They were the victims of a ransomware attack in which their systems were encrypted and access barred. To regain access and to get stolen data deleted, they paid an undisclosed ransom to the cybercriminals.

The universities affected by the Blackbaud breach include:

It’s worth noting that a claim would likely be lodged against Blackbaud as opposed to the universities. GDPR extends to data processors like Blackbaud as well as data controllers, like universities.

Accidental Data Breaches

A data breach can also happen when files containing personal information are not locked away. Someone could get hold of the file and access the data without permission.

In short, a breach does not necessarily have to be a cybersecurity issue. A breach could also happen when the wrong people are sent personal information by mistake.

One example of this, involving a university, is described below:

  • A staff member working at the University of East Anglia accidentally sent 300 recipients a spreadsheet containing student personal data. The information included health issues as well as bereavement data. A sum of around £140,000 was paid for the breach by the university’s insurance provider. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-51284352)

If you want to claim data breach compensation but need advice, please get in touch with a member of our team. We will provide free legal advice on the justifications behind making a data breach claim against the University of the West of England, Bristol.

Statistics For Rates Of Higher Education Data Breaches

Universities in the UK, and elsewhere in the world, are often targeted by cybercriminals. Higher education institutions are the victims of cyber-attacks because many of them carry out sensitive research work. Cybercriminals steal the information to use themselves, or sell to sell it on.

A recent survey carried out by the security firm Redscan found that an alarming number of universities in the UK were unable to prevent cyber-attacks.

The security firm sent universities a Freedom of Information request and of those that responded (86 universities), the survey found:

  • 45% of staff were not provided with awareness training in the last 12 months
  • On average, universities in the UK only spend £7,529 per year on staff training
  • Just over half of the universities that responded to the survey proactively provided training awareness to students
  • 37% of universities provided resources to students when they asked for it

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the authority that enforces data protection law in the UK. If a breach occurs, it must be reported to the ICO within 72 hours so an investigation can be launched.

If the ICO finds that a data controller or processor is not compliant with the law, it can issue a hefty fine. The maximum penalty for non-compliance is £17.5 million (or 4% of global turnover whichever is the greater).

Non-Compliance and Fines

The University of Greenwich received a fine for non-compliance with data breach law. To clarify, the university did not comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. The data breach involved a microsite set up for a training conference. The site was not shut down securely when the conference ended which allowed cybercriminals to take advantage of its vulnerabilities. They gained access to the contact details of 19,500 people. They also obtained 3,500 sensitive records.

An adviser can tell you whether you have grounds to sue for data breach compensation, so please get in touch today.

Criminal Breaches In Cyber Security

Universities receive a vast number of phishing emails every year along with ransomware attacks. The Blackbaud data breach is one example of a ransomware attack which negatively impacted a number of UK universities in 2020.

Other cyber-attacks against higher education institutions include:

  • Data theft
  • Spyware
  • Malware
  • Distributed Denial of Service attacks – DDoS attacks

If you are the victim of a data breach and you would like to know if you can seek compensation, please get in touch today. We offer an initial, no-obligation consultation which is free of charge. You can ask any questions you have and an experienced adviser will assess if you can make a data breach claim against the University of the West of England.

Types Of Data Protection Breach Compensation

When your data is breached whether accidentally or intentionally, you have the right to seek compensation. Under the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulations, you have the right to claim material damages for financial losses and non-material damages for mental harm.

You could make a data breach claim against the University of the West of England if you only suffered mental harm but did not suffer any financial losses. You can also claim for just financial losses or both forms of damage.

An experienced Legal Expert adviser will provide free legal advice on how whether a data breach claim against the University of the West of England is valid or not. Please get in touch on the freephone number at the top of the page.

Data Breach Compensation Calculator Against Universities

The Court of Appeal established a legal precedent in the case Vidal-Hall and others vs Google [2015]. Before this case, claimants needed to demonstrate financial loss as a result of a data breach in order to claim compensation for the mental impact. Vidal changed this position. Now a claimant can seek compensation for either form of damage.

The Court of appeal also advised lawyers to reference personal injury law when determining the values of injuries inflicted by a data breach. With that in mind, we’ve put together the below compensation table. It provides a rough idea on how much a data breach claim for mental harm may be valued at. We have taken the amounts from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG).

Type of psychiatric or psychological harmSeverityNoteGeneral damages awarded based on Judicial College Guidelines
Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderSevereA compensation payout takes into account the negative impact a data breach has on a claimant and the severity of PTSD symptoms£56,180 - £94,470
Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderModerate - severeClaimant suffers PTSD but their symptoms are not as severe as above. The compensation payout takes into account how a claimant's life has been impacted by a breach£21,730 - £56,180
Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderModerateA claimant suffers moderate PTSD symptoms. However the prognosis is positive£7,680 - £21,730
Psychiatric harm/mental anguishSevereA claimant suffers severe symptoms of psychiatric harm which affects their ability to work or lead a normal life £51,460 - £108,620
Psychiatric harm/mental anguishModerate - severeA claimant suffers similar symptoms to those above but the prognosis is slightly more positive/better. Claimants ability to work and lead a normal life is seen to improve as time passes£17,900 - £51,460
Psychiatric harm/mental anguishModerateA claimant suffers similar symptoms to above, however the prognosis is better. Work-related stress could be an issue£5,500 - £17,900
Psychiatric harm/mental anguishLess SevereThe compensation payout takes into account how a claimant's life, mental health, and well-being are negatively impacted by the breachUp to £5,500

A member of the Legal Expert team can offer a better idea on how much your data breach claim could be worth, so please get in touch with an experienced adviser today.

What Should I Do If My Data Privacy Is Breached?

You should contact the university to voice your concerns if you are a victim of a data breach. If you do not receive a satisfactory response, you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and ask them to launch an investigation.

You should not wait too long to do so because if your request arrives too late, the ICO may not wish to start an enquiry.

The Information Commissioner’s Office is not in a position to compensate victims of a data breach, but they can issue fines against an organisation that is non-compliant with data protection law.

How a Specialist Data Breach Solicitor Can Help

If you want to seek data breach compensation, you must do so by taking legal action, bearing in mind you do not have to report an incident to the ICO to do so. This is where Legal Expert can help you.

For free legal advice on how to go about making a data breach claim against the University of the West of England, please get in touch with one of our advisers today. You could contact a solicitor situated close to you. However, you do not have to use a local firm of lawyers. By far the best way to find the right person to act on your behalf is to check past reviews. Our own reviews offer a good idea of our success rate with satisfied past claimants.

Once we have thoroughly assessed your data breach claim, we would connect you to our solicitors. The solicitor would offer to act on your behalf on a No Win No Fee basis which in short, means you can make a claim for data breach compensation without paying any upfront fees.

Please get in touch with an adviser to find out if you can make a No Win No Fee data breach claim.

No Win No Fee Data Breach Claims Against The UWE

As previously mentioned, an experienced adviser will assess your data breach claim. Once we find you have good reason to sue for compensation, we would connect you to our solicitors. The solicitor would offer to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. This means you won’t have to pay an upfront or ongoing fees for work to begin on your claim.

You only pay a No Win No Fee solicitor if you receive a compensation payout. The fee is capped by law at a low level and is used to cover your lawyer’s costs in representing you. If your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay the solicitor anything, and there would be no other legal costs to pay either.

Please get in touch with an adviser today and find out whether you can make a No Win No Fee data breach claim against the University of the West of England.

Talking To An Expert

If you are ready to start a data breach claim, please reach out to one of our experienced advisers. You can get in touch in the following ways:

Resources To Help Claimants

In the final section of our guide, we’ve added some extra links to resources you may find useful.

Claiming council data breach compensation:

How to claim data breach compensation from a local council

Our guide to claiming compensation for a Microsoft data breach

Microsoft data breach compensation guide

Our guide to claiming psychological harm compensation:

Psychological injury claims

Your right to seek data breach compensation:

Your right to compensation under the GDPR

The 7 key principles of the General Data Protection Act 2018

The Seven Principles Of GDPR Work

Thanks for reading our guide to data breach claims against the University of the West of England.

Guide by Wood

Edited by Billing

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