A data breach is a specific instance in which secure or confidential information is released without authorization to an unsecure environment. In many cases, this involves either an intentional theft of company information, or an accidental leakage of sensitive information due to an error. Data breaches often involve electronic means of communication and data storage, such as hard drives, digital video or audio files, laptop information, wi-fi connections, and phone/smartphone information.
Types of information that are often targeted in a data breach include:
- Personal information, such as names, contact information, and social security info
- Business records, business assets, and related information
- Bank account records, credit card information, and other financial data
- Medical health records
In most cases, data breaches can result in additional issues such as identity theft or a loss of business profits.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Data Breach?
Liability for data breach is usually classified into two different types: external factors and internal factors. External factors for data breach typically involve:
- Theft by a hacker or an outside competitor
- Corporate espionage
- Negligence or breach of duty by a data privacy management firm
Internal factors for data breaches include:
- Internal security or accounting errors
- Negligence of an employee
- Breach of fiduciary duty by an employee or business partner
- Failure to keep current with electronic security measures
Some data breaches may involve both types of factors, such as when an employee collaborates with an outside hacker to provide data or passwords.
Are There Any Legal Remedies for a Data Breach?
If the court is able to prove liability for a data breach, it may result in various legal consequences. These can include a damages award for lost profits and expenses, and a requirement that the liable party return all sensitive information and data. If an employee was found to be liable, they may also face legal sanctions such as a loss of employment or certification. In many cases, criminal charges may be applied for hacking and other violations.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance with Data Breach Legal Issues?
Data breaches can be very serious and can cost a company profits, lost contacts, and a loss of private information. It can also place customers and clients in an unsafe position where they become vulnerable to identity theft and other issues. You may need to hire a business law attorney in your area if you have any legal issues or conflicts involving a data breach. Your lawyer can provide legal advice and guidance to help you with your claim. Also, if you need to file a lawsuit, your attorney can represent you in a court of law.