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We had hoped that the introduction of the GDPR in 2018 would lead to serious improvements and that we would see far fewer breaches, leaks and hacks. Sadly, this has not been the case and, if anything, the volume of breaches continues to grow.
What has not helped us in 2020 is, of course, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The increased reliance on the use of technology to be able to work and live has resulted in an increase in cyberattacks, and hackers have done their best to exploit the situation. When it comes to 2021, we expect the current trends to continue.
2020 has been another year of data breaches. We have seen a huge increase in the numbers of people coming forward for our help, for both individual legal cases and as part of the numerous new group and multi-party actions that we have launched.
One of the biggest new actions that we launched was for victims of the Virgin Media data breach that was revealed earlier this year. Affecting some 900,000 victims, personal and sensitive information was left exposed for 10 months between April 2019 and February 2020. The database was accessed on at least on occasion by an unknown third-party.
Victims can sign up for a No Win, No Fee data breach compensation claim here.
One of the biggest cyberattacks to have taken place was the easyJet data breach revealed in May. Affecting 9 million people, and with over 2,000 victims having their payment card details exposed, it is a monumental data breach that has come at a time when the travel industry is already so severely affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately, we expect that 2021 will be another year of data breaches. The GDPR does not appear to have had the impact that it could have had, where it can act as key legislation to ensure that data laws are not broken.
What has not helped, perhaps, is the significant reductions in the fines issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) this year. The original intentions to fine BA and Marriott were set at £183m and £99m respectively. Instead, they were issued with fines of just £20m and £18.4m respectively, and we worry about the impact that such huge reductions may have.
Again, the ongoing pandemic has not helped, and we expect that struggling organisations may face difficulties in allocating the resources needed to ensure data protection laws are not breached. It could be open season for cybercriminals who will go after easier targets, and this is a real worry for data protection compliance in the UK; especially if the fines that are designed to have a dissuasive impact can be so dramatically reduced.
If we are set to see another year of data breaches, we – Your Lawyers, T/A The Data Leak Lawyers – are here for the victims.
The law can allow victims of a data breach to claim compensation, and we offer No Win, No Fee agreements for eligible clients.
May we take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year and let us all hope that 2021 is a much better year and that the difficulties of 2020 with regards to the coronavirus pandemic are eased.
In terms of data breaches, we do not see any real improvement, so we expect to see another year of leaks and hacks. We are prepared to represent any victim that needs our help.
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