Three Australian law firms have joined forces to bring a “landmark” case against Medibank over last October’s data breach. Comprised of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, Bannister Law Class Actions and Centennial Lawyers, the trio will jointly seek compensation for affected clients.
Specifically, they will push through a complaint lodged with the Australian Information Commissioner’s Office (OAIC) for compensation. Maurice Blackburn, last November, initiated the representative’s official complaint to the OAIC, which has the authority to issue the compensation directive.
The three law firms said in a joint statement on Monday that “tens of thousands” of affected clients have already registered for the class action.
Medibank revealed a security incident last October that compromised the data of 9.7 million current and former customers, including 1.8 million international customers. After Medicare refused to pay the ransom demands, the hackers dumped large batches of data on the dark web, claiming the files contained all the data they took during the heist.
The data security incident, along with others such as the Optus breach, prompted the Australian government to demand tougher penalties. The country’s legislation was eventually overhauled, increasing maximum fines for serious or repeat offenses to A$50 million or three times the value of any benefit gained from data misuse, or 30% of turnover adjusted for the business during the relevant period, whichever is greater.
Bannister Law Class Actions Principal Charles Bannister expressed hope that the joint cooperation would lead to prompt compensation payments for Medibank customers affected by the breach. “We believe the data breach is a betrayal of Medibank customers and a violation of privacy law,” Bannister said. “Medibank has a duty to keep this kind of information confidential.”
Centennial Lawyers Assistant Professor George Newhouse added that the data breach exposed the lack of safeguards that should have been in place to prevent hackers from accessing private and personal data.
Describing the law firms’ cooperation as a significant development, Maurice Blackburn’s class action manager, Andrew Watson, said the agreement would ensure the three firms would work together with the common goal of obtaining compensation as quickly as possible. possible.
Maurice Blackburn also filed a representative complaint with the OAIC against Optus regarding the telephone company’s data breach.