Recently, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) revealed that they had suffered a data breach in which the personal data of staff members was published online. In this guide, we will discuss this breach in further detail, and explore how it could impact those whose personal data had been compromised.
We’ll also discuss the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA), which are the two pieces of legislation that protect the personal data of UK residents. Following this, we’ll discuss the potential steps you could take should you have been impacted by the PSNI data breach. In the sections that follow, you will also find a section that looks closely at how data breach compensation is calculated.
Finally, we will discuss how our panel of data breach solicitors could help you. Read on to get more information, or contact our team of advisors to get started by:
Browse Our Guide
- What Is The Police Service Of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Data Breach?
- PSNI Data Breach – How Could It Impact Me?
- Who Could Make A Data Breach Compensation Claim?
- Calculating Data Breach Compensation
- Could A Solicitor Help You If Affected By The PSNI Data Breach?
- Where To Find More On The PSNI Data Breach
In August 2023, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) released a statement stating that they were investigating the release of a spreadsheet that contained the personal data of current employees. The data that was included were surnames, initials of current employees and the location and department within which they work
The breach came about due to the mishandling of a Freedom of Information Request (FOI), the personal data of the PSNI employees was shared with the public and hosted for two hours on a website called ‘What Do They Know’ before being taken down.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK’s independent data protection regulator, also released a statement following the breach. The ICO is responsible for enforcing the UK GDPR and DPA and upholding the data protection rights of the residents of the UK.
Information That Was Revealed By The PSNI Data Breach
The PSNI shared the names of all police and civilian personnel, where they were based and their roles in a freedom of information request, which was then later published online.
For information on claiming for a data breach by an employer, contact our team today. Alternatively, read on for more information on the PSNI data breach.
Personal data breaches can impact people in different ways. Also, due to the different kinds of personal information that can be breached may have different effects on different people. Personal data is information that can be used directly or indirectly to identify a living person. This can range from contact details to credit or debit card data. Personal data that is considered sensitive in nature is referred to as special category data and is given extra protection. This data can include personal data relating to health or biometric data.
In this instance, the data that has been compromised can identify police officers and where they are stationed. This could ultimately create a security risk as many take great care to keep who they work for a secret as they have been targets of Republican paramilitaries.
Our team of advisors are here to help if you have evidence that your personal data was involved in the PSNI data breach. Get in touch to learn more.
To be eligible to make a personal data breach claim, you must be able to satisfy the eligibility criteria. Not everyone who falls victim to a data breach and suffers as a consequence will have a valid compensation claim.
Organisations that process, or who decide the means and reasons behind gathering and using personal data are known as data controllers. Often they can outsource the actual processing to a third party called a data processor. These entities must ensure that they comply with data protection laws when handling the personal data of UK residents. If they fail to adhere through acts or omissions, they could be liable should a data breach occur that causes harm to data subjects.
Therefore to be eligible to make a personal data breach claim, you will need to show that:
- A data controller or processor failed in their obligations to comply with data protection laws.
- This led to a data breach that involved your personal data, and
- As a consequence, you suffered emotional distress or financial harm.
To learn more about claiming for a personal data breach, read on. Or, if you have evidence that you were affected by the PSNI data breach, contact our team of advisors.
There are two kinds of compensation that you could receive for a successful data breach claim. These are:
- Material damage compensation: This covers the financial effects of the breach. For example, money stolen from your bank account or credit taken out in your name. It may also consider the cost of moving house or the cost of lost earnings.
- Non-material damage compensation: This covers the effect the breach had on your mental health. For example, you may suffer from stress due to the breach. Existing mental health issues can also be made worse by a data breach.
When solicitors and legal professionals in Northern Ireland value non-material damage compensation, they often refer to the 5th edition of The Green Book. This is a document that provides legal professionals with guideline compensation brackets for various injuries, including psychological injuries. These figures apply for claims made in Northern Ireland. Below, you can see some examples of these figures, but please note that these are not guaranteed amounts.
|Severe Psychological Harm||£82,000 – £210,000||This bracket comes with a very poor prognosis due to severe symptoms that affect all areas of the claimant's life. The award will look at how the person can cope with life, education, work and relationships as well as how effective treatment is and how vulnerable the person will be in the future.|
|Moderately Severe Psychological Harm||£47,500 – £125,000||The prognosis here is slightly better, however the claimant will still have significant issues coping with the areas mentioned above.|
|Moderate Psychological Harm||£12,000 – £48,500||There is a significant improvement in symptoms, leading to a good prognosis.|
|Minor Psychological Harm||Up to £15,000||Consideration is given to the extent of remaining effects and how the claimant is affected.|
|Severe PTSD||£60,000 – £120,000||There is no ability to live, work, or function at the pre-trauma level, due to severe symptoms that affect all areas of life.|
|Moderately Severe PTSD||£45,000 - £95,000||Some recovery is possible with help from a professional, which leads to a better prognosis.|
|Moderate PTSD||£12,000 – £48,500||No majorly disabling symptoms remain following a large recovery.|
|Less Severe PTSD||£4,500 – £13,000||There are only minor issues persisting after an almost full recovery that takes place over two years.|
To learn more about compensation claim values in data breach cases, contact our helpful team. Or, read on to find out how a solicitor from our expert panel could potentially help you following the PSNI data breach.
There are many benefits to working with a solicitor should you want to make a claim and have evidence that you were harmed by a data breach caused by the failings of an organisation responsible for your data. For example, a solicitor can help you gather evidence to support your case. This can include talking to witnesses and arranging an independent medical assessment.
One of the benefits of working with our panel is that they take on claims from all over the UK. This means that you won’t be limited to working with a solicitor in your area. Alongside this, our panel have years of combined experience with personal data breach claims. They can use this experience to guide you through your claim and explain any jargon that may come up.
Contact Our Team
Our team of advisors are here to help. When you get in touch, a member of our team can talk to you about your case and answer any questions you may have about the claims process. Then, they will evaluate your case, and if you have a valid claim, they may then pass you onto a solicitor from our panel.
To get started, contact us today:
Below are some links to external resources where you can find information about data breaches:
For more information on claiming for a personal data breach:
- If your solicitor lost your client files in a data breach, you may be able to make a claim. Our guide offers more information.
- Read our guide on family data breach compensation to learn more about claiming for a breach that has affected your family.
- Get help with claiming for a recruitment agency data breach with our informative guide.
Thank you for reading our guide about the PSNI data breach.