Data breaches occur when information is accessed or stolen by unauthorized individuals, and they can have serious consequences for both businesses and consumers. In this article, you’ll get an overview of the law surrounding data breaches in California, including what constitutes a data breach, who is responsible for notifying affected parties, and the damages that may be recoverable. Keep reading to find out more.
Can you take legal action if you have been affected by a data breach?
When a company suffers a data breach, there are often legal ramifications. Depending on the severity of the breach and the laws of the state in which the company is located, victims may be able to file a lawsuit against the company. In some cases, breached companies can also be fined by government agencies. A data breach occurs when confidential information is accessed or stolen by an unauthorized individual. This can include names, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, and other personal information. When this data is compromised, it can lead to identity theft, fraud, and other types of crime. Victims of data breaches may be able to sue the company that was responsible for the breach with the help of the best data breach attorneys California has to offer. This type of lawsuit is known as a class action lawsuit. In order to file a class action lawsuit, there must be more than one victim of the breach. The victims must also have suffered damages as a result of the breach. Damages can include expenses incurred as a result of identity theft or fraud, loss of wages due to time spent dealing with these issues, and emotional distress. In addition to being sued by individuals who have been affected by data breaches, companies can also be fined by government agencies. For example, in 2017 Equifax was fined $175 million by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for its role in a massive data breach that affected more than 145 million people.
Are there any state laws surrounding breaches?
Laws in each state tend to differ. For example, California has a breach notification law that requires any person or business that suffers a breach to notify affected individuals “in the most expedient time possible.” The notification must include “the nature of the breach, the date of the breach, and the contact information for credit reporting agencies.” If more than 500 Californians are impacted by a single breach, then notice must also be given to the Attorney General. There are a few exceptions to this rule; for example, if a company determines that there is no reasonable risk of identity theft or financial fraud following a breach, then it is not required to notify affected individuals. Similarly, if law enforcement determines that public notification could compromise an investigation or national security interests, then notice may be withheld. Businesses that suffer a breach can be held liable for damages suffered by their customers as a result of that breach. These damages may include costs associated with credit monitoring services and identity theft protection plans, out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of identity theft or fraud, and emotional distress damages.
What is the penalty for failing to notify individuals of a data breach?
Under most laws, if a company suffers a breach and doesn’t notify affected individuals within 60 days, they can be fined up to $500,000. The law also requires companies to take steps to protect people’s personal information. This includes having reasonable security measures in place and destroying or erasing information when it’s no longer needed.
Overall, the law surrounding breaches is important as it helps to protect individuals’ personal information. The law sets out specific requirements for organizations that hold personal information, including how they must protect it and what to do if it is compromised. Breaches can have serious consequences for organizations, including financial penalties and damage to their reputation.