Government Data Breaches

Government Departments, including HMRC, the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice, hold an enormous amount of our personal data. And a significant proportion of it is likely to constitute sensitive personal data or “special categories of data” (including for example, medical records, religious beliefs or ethnic origin).

Like other organisations holding your personal data Government Departments have an obligation to keep your personal safe and secure in accordance with the law as set out in the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018. However it is our experience at DRM Legal that Government Departments often breach their data protection responsibilities. Some failures are the result of Government Departments having inadequate data protection policies and procedures in place to ensure the safe and secure handling of your data. Sometimes the staff entrusted to handle your personal data have not been given sufficient training which results in personal data being lost or destroyed. Or sometimes, as a result of human error, sensitive personal data is sent to the wrong person.

At DRM Legal we understand how disruptive and upsetting it is when your personal data is lost, or shared accidentally with an unauthorised person. We are here to help our clients to claim compensation for the distress and embarrassment caused by breaches of your personal data by Government Departments.

Government Departments are liable for the failure to protect your data if they did not follow their own internal procedures (such as data destruction policies) or if their security systems are inadequate. Data breaches by Government Departments frequently occur because of human error, however the offending organisation will still be liable for the breach.

If you believe that you are a victim of a Government Department data breach, contact our team at DRM Legal to help you to claim the compensation that you deserve. We give our clients our undivided attention when making a claim for data protection breaches. Unlike many other data breach solicitors, we will not ask you to join a group action with hundreds of other people claiming for the same breach. Everybody is different and should be treated as an individual so we will always focus on how the data breach has affected you, and only you.

Examples of data breaches by Government Departments

In June 2007 HM Revenue and Customs had lost the names, addresses and dates of birth of every child in the country, along with the bank account details and national insurance numbers of every adult claiming child benefit on their behalf.

However, according to a recent report in Civil Service World

“the Ministry of Justice is responsible for far more incidents than any other government department. In 2017-18 it recorded 3,184 incidents, including 10 serious enough to be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office. The Ministry of Defence, in second place, recorded just 117, with none reported to the ICO. The Home Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs recorded 66 and 62 respectively, while the Department for Work and Pensions recorded no incidents, despite handling information on most of the population.”

Numbers at a glance

25 million
Number of citizens whose personal data was on discs lost by HMRC in 2007

Number of data breaches suffered by the MoJ in 2017/18

Proportion of 2017/18 MoJ data breaches that were attributable to the loss of devices, equipment, or paper files

Number of driving licences lost by Royal Mail in 2017/18, according to HMCTS

Growth in volume of incidents across MoJ, MoD, Home Office, Defra, and HMRC between 2013-15 and 2016-18

At DRM Legal we understand how disruptive and upsetting it is when your personal data is lost, or shared accidentally with an unauthorised person. We are here to help our clients to claim compensation for the distress and embarrassment caused by a Government Department data breach.

Compensation for distress

Unlike other data breaches involving, for example, financial information, Government Department data breaches are usually based solely on the distress you have suffered, rather than/in addition to financial loss. However this is not always the case as the loss of any personal data may lead to fraud as cybercriminals are becoming ever more inventive in the way they monetise stolen personal data.

If you have suffered a data breach by a Government Department, you will know how far-reaching its affects can be. The data breach may a profound effect on your private life. It may cause significant distress and loss of confidence. The initial stress you suffer when you become aware of the breach may result in a diagnosis of anxiety or depression or it may exacerbate an existing medical condition. Following a data breach many of our clients experience stress, disrupted sleep, anxiety and confidence issues. At DRM Legal, we think these ill effects are just as important as any financial loss.

We understand that distress affects everybody differently and we are here to help you through this. If you have suffered a data breach or if your personal data has been lost, you have the right to claim compensation

How to make a Government Department data breach claim

Get in touch with our team to find out whether you may have a data breach claim. If we think that you do have a valid claim for compensation, we will act for you on a no win-no fee basis. This means you have nothing to lose by pursuing your claim, whether or not it succeeds.

Once you have given us the details of your claim, we will consider these and let you know how much compensation you could receive if you were to make a claim. You can then instruct DRM Legal to proceed with your claim and get the compensation you deserve.

If you would like to claim, fill out our claim form now or call our team to discuss your case.