Facebook’s settlement with the Information Commissioner’s Office has effectively blown out of the water any hopes that UK consumers would be able to claim compensation for the misuse of their personal data over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
With the regulator agreeing to allow Facebook to say it was not liable for the issue, legal firms chasing consumer compensation will find it virtually impossible to pursue the case further.
In May last year, Ashfords LLP, which has offices in the South-West as well as a significant presence in London, claimed Facebook users could be in line for up to £12,500 each.
As part of the scheme, the company set up a claims hotline and a online enquiry form in response to the significant number of calls it insists it had received from people concerned about personal data breaches.
Ashfords says the claims will be made under Section 13 of the Data Protection Act 1998, for distress caused by the improper use of data.
At the time, Elizabeth Johnson, associate in the Ashfords insurance and liability claims team, said: “We expect the majority of cases will fall into the lower end of the scale of compensation but where significant distress has been suffered, perhaps because of the sensitivity of the subject matter, such as political views or sexual orientation, then the compensation could be more significant.”
ITN Solicitors was also taking action. Ravi Naik, the lawyer leading the case said recently: “People should realise that data rights are real rights, and we have a mechanism to enforce them. There’s one economic consequence of what [Facebook has] done, but there’s a human consequence as well.”
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