The real-life impact of a data breach


If you are the victim of a data breach, the experience can be devastating. And while most personal data breaches are caused by simple human mistakes rather than cybercriminals hacking huge organisations, that doesn’t mean the consequences are not far-reaching.

As a direct result of admin errors and poor data security processes, privacy violations can cause considerable distress, upset, embarrassment and harm. Our data breach solicitors have seen what can happen when sensitive information is not correctly looked after. In some cases, such privacy violations can lead to family arguments, separation, employee/employer disputes and even job losses.

A data breach can be terrifying

After his ex-partner was jailed for his attempted murder, Matthew* made a compensation claim via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). Sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, the CICA awards compensation to victims who have been physically or mentally injured due to violent crime.

Despite there being an agreement in place to protect Matthew’s home address, the CICA sent documentation that included this address to his ex after his release from prison. Matthew is now living in fear, his PTSD has been exacerbated, and he has had to relocate as his home no longer felt secure. We are helping Matthew to claim compensation for this serious breach of data protection.

A data violation can lead to financial losses

Our client Neil* lost £220k in the GateHub data breach. The theft was made possible as GateHub’s cybersecurity was deeply flawed on multiple levels. Our data protection lawyers secured a £230k settlement against GateHub. Speaking about his experience, Neil said:

“I lost £220k which simply disappeared from my GateHub digital wallet. It is a substantial sum, and I knew that I had been diligent with the security of my account. I contacted both GateHub and Action Fraud initially, both of whom investigated the incident.

“GateHub denied responsibility and in fact, blamed me for purportedly using an insecure password without providing any evidence to substantiate that claim. Action Fraud involved the Metropolitan Police, but ultimately, no action was taken.

“I instructed solicitors as GateHub purports to keep customers’ cryptocurrency safe. Not only did it fail to protect my investment, but it also failed to take any responsibility for my significant loss.”

“The stress caused by the incident cannot be underestimated. GateHub facilitated easy access to my funds and failed to recognise the inadequacy of its security system. This was a life-changing amount and to now know how flimsy its security was – on multiple levels – was frightening. I am relieved that my loss has been recovered, but some may not be as lucky.”

Find out more about this case.

A data failure can lead to physical and mental health problems

Many victims go on to suffer from stress, anxiety, and distress after a data rights failure.

For example, Kate* had breast augmentation surgery at a leading UK clinic. She later started showing signs of breast cancer and made a subject access request (SAR) to the clinic to get a copy of her medical records. Under UK law, organisations should provide the information requested via a SAR within one month. The clinic failed to respond to the SAR, and Kate’s health deteriorated as a result. We are helping Kate to claim compensation for the distress and avoidable damage to her health she has suffered as a result.

In another case, after experiencing a period of sustained harassment at work, Tom* took the matter to HR. During the subsequent formal grievance process, an employee left his confidential file on a trolley in his workplace. This file not only contained details of the harassment Tom had suffered, but it also contained ‘special category’ data such as an in-depth record of his medical history, including his numerous and severe health conditions, details of counselling sections he had attended, and GP meetings. Tom has no idea who, or how many people have seen these records, and his mental health has deteriorated as a result. We are helping Tom to claim compensation for the distress he has suffered because of this breach.

Make a data breach claim with Keller Postman UK

Our data protection lawyers are specialists in data breach law. So, we understand what it takes to make a successful data breach claim across a range of sectors. The process to make a no-win, no-fee claim with us is straightforward and hassle-free.


Contact us today for a free, no-obligation, assessment of your case.

*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.


Share this article: