by Daveda Gruber:
Facebook got HACKED! Users could be owed as much as £6,000 ($7,800) in compensation. This came as a result a security breach that was revealed last week.
Legal experts have said that damages could run into the “thousands” for anyone affected by the hack. There one hitch; you have to be able to prove you felt distressed.
Friday Facebook revealed that hackers had gained access to 50 million accounts.
The breach was made possible by several bugs in Facebook’s systems. They were exploited by hackers.
It meant that attackers were able to log in as absolutely anyone, even you or me, and access profiles. The Hackers could access profiles, photos, friend lists and private messages.
Facebook logged 90 million users out as a safety precaution. Unfortunately, the bugs had been live in the website’s code since June 2017.
I was logged out and I have been getting friend requests from people without mutual friends or common interests but also by people that I was already friends with.
Legal experts at UK law firm Slater and Gordon revealed that affected Brits could make a claim against Facebook.
Why only Brits when I believe I was affected in the United States?
Gareth Pope, who is head of group litigation at the firm, said that it would be possible to file a “civil claim” under the EU’s new GDPR data protection regulations. The regulations came into force earlier this year.
Gareth said, “There are certain rules – one of those is the security principle, which means [Facebook] has to secure your data with appropriate technical and organizational measures.”
He also said that this rule is “nice and wide” and gives Facebook users the best chance of squeezing some cash out of the rogue social network.
He explained, “If you have left a laptop on the train without a password then that’s not secured data.”
He continued, “If you have left open the doors of your system to hackers then you have also not secured your data.”
According to Gareth, Article 82 of the GDPR rules lets anybody bring “a claim for compensation against Facebook if they have suffered material or non-material damage”.
He said, “That’s where you’re going to get them on the breach of the law – under GDPR, you’ve not adhered to the security principle under those laws.”
It used to be the case that Facebook users would’ve had to prove financial loss to get compensation.
That is no longer true.
He said.”You could say ‘hackers gained control of my Facebook account, that has caused me some sort of distress’, and that is now enough.”
He added that joining up to a group action, rather than taking on Facebook alone, would be wisest too.
Gareth said, “If you act as a group, you’re more likely to bring Facebook to the table and take your claims more seriously.”
So how much could you actually get from Facebook? I’d like to know.
According to Gareth, the potential compensation from a civil lawsuit “is infinite.” It’s unlikely you’ll get millions from billionaire Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg. It’s closer to thousands
He said, “When looking at the hack of a social account, I would think that would be several thousands of pounds of damage.”
It appears that you’ll have a better chance of getting more money if something bad actually happened to you after the Facebook hack.
Gareth said, “The court will have to attribute a value to the degree of suffering that you have suffered yourself,” he continued, “And so, for example, that could be quite a wide range. If somebody had info taken and nobody knows who took it and nothing happened, then you could say you felt distress.
He also said, “If somebody hacked a business and all sorts of business details and trade secrets, and managed to get financial info, and they lost money, obviously the compensation will be higher.”
Gareth admitted his own firm Slater and Gordon would consider taking the case on, but they’d need someone to fund the suit. Hacked users could probably only expect a few thousand pounds in compensation.
He said, “It’s certainly something we would look at. It’s more complex than saying ‘yes, it’s a winnable’ case’. We would obviously need to work out how the claim was funded, we’d need a litigation funder.”
“We wouldn’t expect claimants would want to pay us to run the claim for probably only £4-, 5-, 6,000 worth of compensation. We’d also need an insurance policy so clients wouldn’t have to pay Facebook’s legal costs if we lose.”
May it’s possible that Facebook might decide to settle the matter out of court. Then the would just pay hacked users a fee.
Facebook is currently worth around £361 Billion with a ‘B’. They employ some of the best legal minds in the world.
Zuck’s empire might find a court battle too costly.
“Facebook has essentially unlimited resources – if these claims are probably not tens of thousands [of pounds] then they might be several thousands [of pounds] at least.
“You’re gonna start thinking about cost and benefit.”
It has become difficult to stay completely unnoticed on the Internet. I expect it. But then I write and get noticed. It would be nice to have a lawsuit here in the U.S.; I wouldn’t mind some money, would you?