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Coronavirus contact tracing data breach worries heighten

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Coronavirus contact tracing data breaches and general security issues are at the forefront of our minds right now. As a leading firm of data breach lawyers, we are concerned.

There are still a lot of questions over the use of the system that has already faced a great deal of controversy so far. As the UK tries to reduce the risk of coronavirus, how does contact tracing work and is my data safe? Is there any reason to be particularly concerned about how information will be used and stored with the system? Given how personal and sensitive medical data is, how real are the risks?

Unfortunately, recent media reports suggest that information misuse is already an issue. Given how common medical data breach compensation claims are, we are not surprised.

Coronavirus contact tracing data breach worries

According to recent media reports, some contact tracing staff have reportedly been sharing confidential patient data on Facebook and via WhatsApp. Information involved is said to include names, contact details, NHS numbers, and information about positive cases.

This has reportedly arisen from staff sharing screen grabs with each other when asking for help with the system. This is another controversy surrounding a controversial system that has already been at the heart of a great deal of criticism and has faced a raft of issues. Whilst staff may require support and assistance for using the systems, it’s not acceptable for any personal and sensitive medical data to be exposed or misused.

According to the Daily Mail, contact tracers have been joining up to Facebook groups due to alleged issues over training and support for managing the system. In one instance of information being shared, a team leader reportedly posted a screenshot that revealed patient information in a group of more than 800 members.

With thousands of contact tracers working with the system, it’s clear to us that the risk of a serious data breach is huge.

Coronavirus pandemic: how does contact tracing work and is my data safe?

In terms of how contact tracing works, it’s about pushing for self-isolation for anyone who has been found to have had contact with someone who has been diagnosed with Covid-19. Technology on mobile phones can be used to determine anyone that has had close contact with someone diagnosed with the virus, and people may then need to self-isolate for 14 days thereafter.

In an already increasingly digitalised world, there are serious questions over the risk of coronavirus contact tracing data breaches, leaks and hacks. As we have seen from the media reports outlined above, the risk of information being exposed and misused is clear. But with the NHS such a huge target for cybercriminals anyway, it’s an absolute must that the system is safe and secure. Data being stored and processed must be done so in accordance with the GDPR, and breaches must be avoided.

Whilst everything must be done to make sure that we are winning the fight against coronavirus so we can save lives and return to some kind of normality, data protection cannot be ignored.

We can tell you from considerable experience that healthcare data breach compensation claims are some of the most serious there can be. This is because the type of information involved in an incident like this is precisely the kind we do not want others to know about. In fact, data breach compensation amounts for cases like this can be substantial.

Your rights as a victim of a data breach

No victim of a data breach should ever suffer in silence. Any coronavirus contact tracing data issues that result in the misuse or exposure of your personal information could mean that you are entitled to claim compensation; by law. You may also be able to benefit from the No Win, No Fee representation that we have in place for the thousands of clients we represent for cases too.

For free, no-obligation advice about your options today, please don’t hesitate to contact the team today.

IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.

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