The Medibank data breach involves highly personal information of millions of its customers including names, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, some Medicare and passport numbers and in some cases sensitive health care information, including codes associated with diagnosis and medical procedures.
A ransomware group has been posting the stolen data online in an attempt to extort the company.
In what is an important test of Australia’s privacy laws, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers has lodged a formal complaint with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), which has the power to order Medibank pay compensation to affected customers.
Under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Act), corporations which do not take reasonable steps to protect the personal information of clients face penalties, including fines and consumers may also be compensated for privacy breaches.
The representative complaint alleges Medibank failed in its duties by failing to take steps to protect the privacy of its customers’ personal information and sensitive health information from interference, loss, unauthorised access and unauthorised disclosure.
Maurice Blackburn Principal Lawyer Andrew Watson said the OAIC has power to order compensation to be paid to affected customers.
“The disclosure of personal information, particularly the nature of the information held by Medibank, has caused millions of Australians significant distress. The right to privacy is a fundamental human right, and the representative complaint to the Australian Information Commissioner offers an avenue of redress to the millions affected by this incident. We cannot undo the damage that has been caused in this data breach, but we can ask the Commissioner to investigate the data breach and seek compensation from Medibank on behalf of those affected, including for financial or non-financial loss, such as humiliation, stress, and feelings of anxiety.”
If you are a current or former Medibank, ahm or international student customer you are eligible to register to receive regular updates about the Maurice Blackburn investigation and any compensation which may be sought on your behalf. Visit our Medibank data breach investigation webpage for more information and to register your interest.
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