Data theft ‘fence’ ordered to pay £109,000 to Aviva

high court2Aviva’s drive to crack down on illegally obtained data in the claims industry is not entirely for the “greater good”, it seems, after the insurance giant has successfully sued a “data middleman” for over £100,000 for profiting from inside information passed on to him by an Aviva employee.

The case dates back to 2013, when the Aviva staffer accessed the firm’s computer system to obtain the personal details of policyholders who had reported accidents where they were not at fault.

At her trial in 2017, the woman had claimed she was approached by a man after work and was offered cash in exchange for the information. She was subsequently handed a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to pay £4,500 compensation.

The same year, middleman David Oliver, who had sold the details on to claims management companies, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Data Protection Act and was fined and made subject to a confiscation order. Miller claimed that Oliver had received at least £370,000 from the operation.

Aviva then started civil proceedings against Oliver, alleging breach of confidence, conspiracy and an inducement of the employee to breach her contractual obligations.

In this week’s ruling at the High Court in Manchester, Judge Stephen Eyre QC said the defendant Oliver knew he was being provided with information which was obtained wrongfully. The judge upheld liability claims from Aviva and ordered that Oliver pay the costs of a team set up to investigate the misuse of policyholders’ data.

The judge found Oliver knew what the Aviva employee was doing and that he had obtained confidential information improperly. His use of the information was clearly unauthorised and was a breach of the obligation of confidence. He was ordered to pay £108,651.59.

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