Mass Data Breaches and the Limits of Privacy Claims

privacy law barrister

There have been a few recent cases in the High Court that have dealt with the question of whether misuse of private information can be claimed against companies that have experienced a data breach for which they have found to be responsible by the Information Commissioner. In both, the claimants failed to persuade the court that they could bring a claim in misuse of private information (“MPI”) alongside a claim for breach of data protection legislation.

MPI is a tort that recently emerged in the common law to address a shortfall in the law of breach of confidence, under which a claim can only be brought in limited circumstances. MPI protects information that is private, but where a formal contractual relationship does not necessarily exist between the parties. It can be a more appealing cause of action than breach of data protection legislation because it tends to attract higher damages…

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