Last year the consumer credit bureau Equifax was hacked and consequently the personal data of more than 150 million people was leaked. Many Americans in the country felt let down by the company. After this event, a Librarian named Jessamyn West from Vermont sued Equifax in court and won $600 dollars for damages.
When Equifax disclosed the breach West filed a claim with the local Orange County, asking the judge for $5000. She told the court that her mother had just died and it has added a lot of work sorting out her mom’s finances whilst also having to act on the entire credit card information of the family being exposed to hackers and identity thieves.
The judge finally agreed to award the victim the amount of $690 with a $90 dollars court fee. An interview with KrebsOnSecurity she said that winning will make everyone aware that everyone should question companies if their data is leaked.
“I just wanted to change the conversation I was having with all my neighbours who were like, ‘Ugh, computers are hard, what can you do?’ to ‘Hey, here are some things you can do’,” she said. “A lot of people don’t feel they have agency around privacy and technology in general. This case was about having your own agency when companies don’t behave how they’re supposed to with our private information.”
only a small fraction of Americans are worried about how their date of birth, address and other personal data was stolen. She also said that “The paperwork to file the claim was a little irritating, but it only cost $90,” she said. “Then again, I could see how many people probably would see this as a lark, where there’s a pretty good chance you’re not going to see that money again, and for a lot of people that probably doesn’t really make things better.”
Equifax was the primary target of many class action lawsuits in 2017 before the breach disclosure. In January, data privacy enthusiast Christian Haigh wrote about getting an $8,000 judgment in a small claims court over Equifax for its 2017 breach (the amount was reduced to $5,500 after Equifax appealed).
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