Personal Data

What Is Personal Data and How to Keep Yours Safe?

Personal data is any type of information related to an individual. This could be as basic as a name or number. It can also include other types of data, such as cookie identifiers or IP addresses.
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This data is also referred to as personal information or personally identifiable information (PII). Since much of our PII is available online, there’s always the chance of a breach, or violation, of this information.

Keep reading to find out more about personal data breach. We’ll also tell you how you can protect yourself and your data.

What is a Personal Data Breach?

Business, individuals and even governments can experience serious data breaches that can change the course of everything. It’s treated as a security incident where sensitive or confidential data is copied, stolen, viewed, transmitted or used by an unauthorised individual or organisation. Credit cards, bank account details, personally identifiable information (PII), personal health information (PHI), intellectual property, and trade secrets of businesses are some examples of data breaches.

Anyone can be at risk of a data breach, but what you do after the breach can help you overcome this situation. The expert solicitors at Angelus Law will help assess the circumstances and provide you with the best advice in your current situation. With their help, you can make a data breach claim to recover any financial loss or compensate you for any distress.

A personal data breach is a violation of security. Any time personal data is lost, altered, or damaged is considered a breach of personal information. This can be done either by accident or intentionally.

Here are some examples of personal data breaches:

  • Access by an unauthorised third party, such as a hacker.
  • Loss or theft of computing devices that contain personal data.
  • Modification of personal data without the subject’s permission.
  • Transfer of personal data to the wrong recipient.

What are the Notification Duties after a Personal Data Breach?

If the breach has taken place at the level of the processor, or IT department, then they must inform the controller at once. The controller is a legal person or agency whose main job is to safeguard personal data, and determine how and when it should be used. Controllers include hospitals, universities, companies, and so on.

Then, it’s up to the controller to notify the supervisory authority within 72 hours. The supervisory authority is an independent public authority established by a Member State.

If the supervisory authority is notified after this time, the controller must explain the reason for the delay.

When is the Notification of Personal Data Breach Mandatory?

Notifications aren’t stated in the GDPR guidelines. Yet, it’s commonly practised, especially in extreme cases when the breach of personal information has severe consequences. For example, if a personal data breach can lead to risking someone’s freedom, safety, and basic human rights. This is when it becomes lawfully mandatory to make the proper notifications.

Here are some examples:

  • A medical professional inadvertently sends the wrong medical records.
  • A university staff member accidentally deletes the contact details of an alumni.
  • A hospital suffers an accidental disclosure of patient records.

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To start the reclaiming process today, you can complete the contact form provided and we will be in touch or you can request a no-obligation free call back from our compensation solicitor by calling 0151 329 3660.


How Do I Know If I Have Been a Victim of a Personal Data Breach?

There are two ways you can know if you’ve been a victim of a personal data breach. The first way is if you notice any financial details or other forms of personal data has been breached.

The second way is if a communication duty controller from a company informs you.

The organisation has to explain the following:

  • Which personal information was compromised.
  • A clear explanation of the likely consequences of the breach.
  • A description of the proposed measures to be taken.

The contact details of the data protection officer (DPO) in charge of your breach.

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What Should I Do If I Have Been a Victim of a Personal Data Breach?

When you realise you’ve become a victim of a personal data breach, notify the proper supervisory authorities, or DPOs, at once.

Before you notify anyone, you have to know a couple of important pieces of information first. This step can significantly help limit the aftermath of the breach. It can also help you gain insight on who might have committed this cyber-crime.

Here are a few questions you need to consider once you’ve suffered a breach of personal information:

  • What are the types of data that were harmed by the breach?
  • Has this data been compromised since the breach?
  • How many data subjects, or breach victims, were affected?
  • What are the names and details of the contact point (DPO)?
  • What are the likely consequences of the breach?
  • What are the proposed measures to be taken after the breach has occurred?

How Dangerous Can a Personal Data Breach Be?

A personal data breach is considered one of the most devastating things that can happen to any one of us. These types of personal data breaches can have heart-breaking consequences. It can also result in a domino effect, which can lead to serious problems later on, such as:

  • Identity theft
  • Loss of control of personal data
  • Fraud
  • Discrimination
  • Blackmail
  • Financial loss
  • Loss of confidentiality of personal information

Can I Make a Claim for a Personal Data Breach?

All organisations are restricted by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Act of 2018 set up by the European Union (EU). Then, as of December 31, 2020, a new regulation;  UK-GDPR, will take place of the old one. These regulations are designed to keep your information secure.

If any organisation has misused, changed, or damaged your data you could bring a claim against them. Get together any evidence relating to the personal data breach (emails, letters, fraudulent transactions on statements etc). Prepare an outline of the losses and various types of troubles you’ve suffered as a result of this breach and get in touch with us.

With this information, Angelus Law can ascertain whether you have a valid personal data breach claim and act on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve.

In some cases, you can also make a claim and ask for personal data breach compensation against the processor and the controller, or both in a court of law. 

These claims can be for financial, reputational, or emotional damage. The courts can issue a fine of 4% of the annual global revenue of a company or organisation, or up to £18m — whichever turns out to be the higher amount.

A Final Note

Even though the internet is helping us create new and better worlds, it can also be a place of vulnerability and danger. 

Luckily, there are certain things you can do to safeguard your personal data. Such as, backing up your files, protecting your emails, and installing the latest software updates. Not only that, but there are rules and regulations designed to protect your data from this type of violation. All this helps reduce the risk of a personal data breach. 

If the unfortunate does happen, it’s reassuring to know that you can be compensated for any distress suffered at the hands of a breach by engaging the services of trusted solicitors like Angelus Law.

Get in touch today to see how we can help. Call us on 0151 329 3660