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|Data Protection Claims: An Increased Risk for the Utilities and Financial Services Sectors|
|Wednesday, 03 June 2015|
The recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Google Inc. and Judith Vidal-Hall and others and the Information Commissioner, which was issued on 27 March 2015, is a landmark decision in relation to claims brought by individuals (data subjects) under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). The decision significantly increases the risk which utility companies, debt collection agencies and debt purchase companies, for example, face from individuals in relation to claims that their personal data was unlawfully processed in breach of the DPA. Claims management companies are no doubt examining the decision with interest.
Before this decision an individual who had a claim on the grounds that his or her personal data had been processed in breach of the DPA could only include a claim for non economic loss, such as distress, hurt to feelings or anxiety, where they had also suffered an economic/financial loss. In other words an individual required to establish a financial loss before he or she could claim for distress. This restriction, contained in section 13(2) of the DPA, was an effective bar to many claims where the individual’s personal data had been processed in contravention of the DPA but they had not suffered an actual financial loss. In these circumstances the individual had no claim for damages under the DPA.
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