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Sussex officers start class action over data breach


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A City pension firm is being sued for data breaches after sending pensions statements to wrong addresses.

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Date - 4th May 2021
By - Chris Smith

A class action for compensation has begun in the High Court involving 474 Sussex officers over a breach of data in 2019.

The action is being taken against Paymaster 1836, the pensions division of Equiniti Group which administers pensions for dozens of top companies.

Trouble began in August 2019, when more than 750 annual benefit statements of Sussex officers were sent to the wrong postal addresses.

The details included names, National Insurance numbers, salary banding, dates of birth and Service details.

Among the evidence given to the High Court are documents that show Sussex Police provided the firm with updated contact details but only relevant officer details were changed.

The judge hearing the case has ordered that the details of the officers remain private.

The affected officers are being represented by a firm of solicitors, Keller Lenkner UK, and the claim is estimated to be worth £1m.

Head of data breach at Keller Lenkner UK, Kingsley Hayes, commented: “A data breach of this scale has a significant impact on the individuals affected. Equiniti has thus far failed to recognise the seriousness of the data violation and the impact on the large number of police officers affected.”

After the incident the firm, which is currently a target for a £600m takeover by a private equity firm said “safeguarding personal data is now the minimum expected of businesses”.

The company has been approached for comment.

Kingsley Hayes said the main issue for Sussex officers was the risk to their security.

He said: “The breach included highly confidential information which, placed in the wrong hands, could have significant consequences, including identity theft or other fraudulent activities resulting in significant financial losses.

“Equiniti had a duty to protect this information and should be held accountable for their failure to do so. They should compensate victims fairly.”

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