These days, the average person shares a lot of personal information with a variety of different institutions, but none is more sensitive than the companies that provide us with healthcare. Not only do those companies have access to our financial information (such as credit and debit card numbers), they also commonly have our social security numbers, which cannot be frozen or changed. This is in addition to having our email addresses, home mailing addresses, and various other sensitive information.
Given the level of trust we place in these companies, it’s reasonable to assume they’re doing everything in their power to protect our personal information, but a recent lawsuit against UCLA Health alleges the healthcare provider failed to take basic precautions, such as encrypting customers’ data.
UCLA Health was subject to a data breach in July of this year that allegedly affected up to 4.5 million of the healthcare company’s clients. Most companies encrypt their customers’ personal information so they’re not exposed in the event of a data breach, but UCLA Health’s failure to do so has many of its customers outraged.
UCLA announced that there was no evidence that any data had actually been taken after the data breach, but it could not say for sure and the investigation into the issue continues. So far, all that has been reported is that UCLA Health detected “unusual activity” on one of its servers last October and brought in the FBI to help investigate. And yet the hack wasn’t discovered until May of this year.
Dr. Deborah Peel, the founder of Patient Privacy Rights in Austin, TX, has said data breaches like these will continue to happen because the healthcare industry has built systems with thousands of weak links through which hackers can access almost all their information.
UCLA Health is currently facing a class action lawsuit from the millions of customers whose information was compromised as a result of the data breach. Encrypting customers’ information should be standard practice by now and the company’s failure to do so represents a case of gross negligence, according to the class action lawsuit.
UCLA has apologized, saying it takes the attack “extremely seriously” and that they “deeply regret” that it happened. Such words are of little consolation to those who have to suffer the consequences of having their information compromised.
Credit card companies offer fraud protection (for an extra fee), but Social Security numbers cannot be changed and having that number compromised can have long-lasting consequences. Home mailing addresses and email addresses are also extremely difficult to change, often requiring those seriously affected to completely uproot their lives.
Unfortunately, this is just one of a slew of data breaches, (including one at Medical Informatics Engineering (MIE) and its subsidiary, NoMoreClipboard), in which millions of customers of all sorts of companies find themselves subject to identity theft as their personal and financial information is compromised. As a result, the Attorney General for the State of Indiana urged every single resident of the state to completely freeze their credit.
Our Aurora, Illinois consumer rights private law firm handles individual and class action data breach, privacy rights, deceptive advertising, predatory lending, unfair debt collection, lemon law and other consumer fraud cases that government agencies and public interest law firms such as the Illinois Attorney General may not pursue. Class action lawsuits our law firm has been involved in or spear-headed have led to substantial awards totalling over a million dollars to organizations including the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the National Consumer Law Center, and local law school consumer programs. The Chicago consumer lawyers at Lubin Austermuehle are proud of our achievements in assisting national and local consumer rights organizations obtain the funds needed to ensure that consumers are protected and informed of their rights. By standing up to consumer fraud and consumer rip-offs, and in the right case filing consumer protection lawsuits and class-actions you too can help ensure that other consumers’ rights are protected from consumer rip-offs and unscrupulous or dishonest practices.
Our West Chicago consumer attorneys provide assistance in data breach, privacy violation, fair debt collection, consumer fraud and consumer rights cases including in Illinois and throughout the country. You can click here to see a description of the some of the many individual and class-action consumer cases our Chicago consumer lawyers have handled. A video of our lawsuit which helped ensure more fan friendly security at Wrigley Field can be found here. You can contact one of our Wheaton and Waukegan consumer protection and data breach attorneys who can assist in consumer fraud, consumer rip-off, lemon law, unfair debt collection, predatory lending, wage claims, unpaid overtime and other consumer, or consumer class action cases by filling out the contact form at the side of this blog or by clicking here. You can also call our toll free number at (833) 306-4933.