A law firm has launched a claim against Optus over the cyber attack that saw the data of nearly 10 million Australians accessed by hackers.
Maurice Blackburn has lodged a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), in what it describes as “an important test of Australia‘s privacy laws”.
The complaint is similar to a class action claim, with the Commissioner having the power to order compensation to those affected by breaches of privacy law.
“Under the Privacy Act, corporations must take reasonable steps to protect personal information they hold from misuse, interference and unauthorised access,” a Maurice Blackburn spokesperson said in a statement.
“Those who fail to do so can face penalties including fines and be ordered to pay compensation.”
The representative complainant in the case is Macquarie University academic Sean Foley, who was affected by the data breach.
“Dr Foley was informed by Optus last month that his personal details including sensitive documents had been exposed in the breach, despite him ceasing to be a customer in 2017.”
Maurice Blackburn Principal Vavaa Mawuli said privacy breaches are a growing problem as companies become increasingly entrusted with personal information.
“When people are required to share personal information in order to receive important services, they expect that data to be held securely and not in a manner which may expose them to risks of identity theft. We have commenced this complaint today to seek compensation and hold Optus to account for this catastrophic data breach”.
It‘s not the only mass compensation claim that the telco giant is facing, with law firm Slater & Gordon investigating a claim against Optus and privacy commissioner Angelene Falk looking into her own investigation.
“We will vigorously defend any representative complaints,” an Optus spokesman said.