Man settles data breach claim after address given to private detective acting on behalf of bank

49-year-old Daniel Lannon had sought damages and aggravated damages against the Minister for Social Protection for what he claims was a breach of his privacy and his data protection rights in 2014.

Man settles data breach claim after address given to private detective acting on behalf of bank

A High Court damages claim by a man whose address was given to a private detective hired by solicitors acting for AIB bank by an official at the Department of Social Protection has been resolved.

49-year-old Daniel Lannon had sought damages and aggravated damages against the Minister for Social Protection for what he claims was a breach of his privacy and his data protection rights in 2014.

Mr Lannon also sought declarations from the court including that the department breached its duty of care in regards to his personal data.

The Department opposed the claim but had accepted that a former official with the the department had passed on Mr Lannon's data to a private detective.

On Thursday following talks between the parties, Jim O'Callaghan SC for Mr Lannon, told Mr Justice Tony O'Connor that the action had been resolved and could be struck out with no order.

As part of the settlement Conor Power SC for the Minister read a statement to the court on behalf of his client.

Counsel said that the Department of Social Protection "acknowledges and regrets that data relating to Mr Lannon was released in contravention of the 1988 Data Protection Act by a former employee."

"That employee had acted outside the scope of her employment and without the authority of the department," the statement concluded.

Mr Justice O'Connor commended the parties for reaching a resolution and struck out the case.

During the three day hearing, Mr Lannon claimed that on 22 August 2014 his personal data, including his address at Colpe View, Deepforde, Dublin Road, Drogheda, was accessed, by then Department official Ms Caitriona Bracken.

She provided those details to a private investigator Mr Michael Ryan, who was also her brother in law.

Mr Ryan was hired by a solicitor's firm acting on behalf of AIB. He claims the information was used so AIB could serve legal proceedings on Mr Lannon at his Drogheda address.

Mr Lannon did not provide the bank with the Drogheda address, and instead used the address of a property he owned at Burnell Square, Malahide Road, Dublin for correspondence with AIB.

After AIB wrote to him in Drogheda in 2015 Mr Lannon made a complaint to the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC).

The DPC prosecuted Mr Ryan, and his company Glen Collection Investments Limited, who in October 2016 admitted certain data breaches and were fined €7,500 by the district court.

In its defence, the department accepted that Ms Bracken accessed Mr Lannon's private data and provided it to Mr Ryan, but says it was not liable for her actions.

Ms Bracken of Kilkerrin, Ballinasloe, Co Galway was initially added to Mr Lannon's proceedings by the department as a third party, but early in the hearing dropped its claim against her.

She had claimed that the release of data to parties including private investigators was "commonplace."

The Department rejected that claim, and said it took steps to ensure all of its employees were aware of their data protection obligations.

During the hearing, evidence was given that the department took any data breach very seriously and had disciplined and fired members of staff found to have wrongfully passed on information to third parties.

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