Online council data leak compensation claims
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Online council data leak compensation claims

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We specialise in representing victims for data breach compensation claims.

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Councils hold extensive private information about their residents, all of which they have a duty to protect against unauthorised access and data leaks. Unfortunately, there are local authorities that fail to observe their data protection duties and, in some cases, this can lead to an online council data leak.

Unfortunately, recent reports on the hundreds of data breaches suffered by local authorities in the past year or so suggests that they remain under-resourced when it comes to cybersecurity, a deficiency that may be contributing to the high numbers of council data breaches taking place. However, there have also been a number of human error incidents at local councils in which the errors of employees have caused data to be leaked online.

When the negligence of a third-party data controller causes information to be leaked or compromised, those affected may have a right to claim compensation for a data protection breach. Local councils have a responsibility to their residents and should, therefore, be held accountable when they put data security at risk.

How might an online council data leak occur?

There are usually only a few potential causes for an online council data leak. It may be that the information was stolen in an attack by hackers, that system insecurities left open by the council enabled unauthorised users to access private data about their servers, or that a member of staff accidentally published personal information online.

For example, a data breach incident at Birmingham City Council in 2021 saw the personal information of children become vulnerable after it was reportedly uploaded to the council’s website by mistake. Although the council said that the information was not downloaded, the incident demonstrates how small employee errors can seriously endanger personal data.

A cyberattack at Hackney Council also led to an online council data leak after it was reported that hackers who stole information in the ransomware attack allegedly posted it online. The cybercriminals claimed that the stolen files included passport documents.

The impact of council data breaches

As demonstrated in the two examples above, an online council data leak can represent a serious security risk for those affected. Data that becomes accessible online could be misused by cybercriminals as a result, often for the purposes of fraud or scams.

The sensitive nature of the personal information that is held by councils also makes the consequences of data leaks more serious. For example, identity documents such as passports and driving licenses can be highly valuable to cybercriminals. Social services are often run by local authorities too, which means that councils often hold a large amount of information about vulnerable people, such as children in care, or people with learning difficulties. If such information is leaked, it has the potential to risk the safety of the people affected.

Council data breach claims

Like all other third-party data controllers, councils must abide by data protection law. Where they fail to do so, those who have had their rights breached may be able to make a data breach claim.

Data breaches can result in severe emotional, psychological and financial consequences for those affected, so it is important that all those affected by such incidents are fairly compensated for the harm caused.

To find out more about making a No Win, No Fee data breach claim, you can contact our team for free, no-obligation advice.

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We specialise in representing victims for data breach compensation claims.

Information on how we handle your data is available in our Privacy Policy.

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