In the digital age, companies must be careful with how they handle customer data. Uber is learning this lesson the hard way in Alberta. The business currently faces a potential class-action suit over a 2016 data breach. The plaintiff currently named in the lawsuit is an Alberta woman affected by the data breach, but the ultimate goal of the lawsuit is for it to be classified as a class action.
Although the data breach occurred in 2016, the incident was covered up by the Chief Security Officer at the time. The Chief Security Officer, who has since been fired, paid the hacker $100,000 to destroy the stolen data of 57 million customers. The stolen data included email addresses and mobile phone numbers.
If the court classifies the lawsuit as a class action, all Alberta residents affected by the breach will participate by default unless they take steps to exclude themselves. The lawsuit seeks damages for costs including credit counselling, lost time and income, and any services Uber customers paid for to prevent identity theft. The lawsuit alleges that a business such as Uber has the responsibility to inform the Office of the Privacy Commissioner as well as any customers who may have been affected.
In cases like this, it often takes Alberta courts between six months to one year to rule on class-action certification. Understanding provincial laws and court systems involved in business lawsuits is key for both plaintiffs and defendants in these cases. For support in a legal dispute over business practices, Alberta residents should contact a lawyer.
Source: CBC News, “Class-action lawsuit launched against Uber in Alberta over data privacy breach“, Robson Fletcher, Nov. 29, 2017