Data Protection Bill could result in ‘PPI-style claims’ industry
The Data Protection Bill risks creating a new ‘PPI-style claims’ industry costing UK businesses huge amounts in time and resources says Matthew Holman, specialist data protection and technology lawyer and Principal at EMW, the commercial law firm.
The Data Protection Bill requires businesses to delete personal data on the request of an individual within 1 month.
EMW points out that under the Bill, consumers will be able to bring cases against businesses for failure to remove personal information and seek damages if the data is not deleted.
The Bill allows not-for-profit entities and consumer groups (such as Citizens’ Advice Bureau) to represent affected consumers to help them recover compensation. There is also an increased risk of law firms bringing no-win no-fee style claims on behalf of multiple individuals whose rights have been infringed by businesses.
EMW explains that an any individual’s data could be being held by hundreds of companies at the same time. As a result, a representative of the individual could send a mass-request for removal of information to numerous companies, and then, on behalf of consumers, recover compensation for all of those who don’t comply.
Matthew Holman, Principal at EMW, comments: “The Bill paves the way for individuals to recover damages for distress or injury to feelings. Any business which fails to respond to a right to be forgotten request could face these claims.”
“The number of business who today hold personal information about people is substantial but, for most businesses, it is far harder to locate and delete that data than the legislation gives credit for. Businesses will not only face heavy fines but also the prospect of legal claims against them.”
Matthew Holman continues: “Implementation costs may seem large now, especially for smaller firms, but fulfilling obligations today will protect against huge penalties and compensation claims in the long run.”
“Businesses only have until May next year to act, so focus must be on bringing themselves into line with regulations or face crippling fines.”