Cyber Insurance Blog

Privacy Law Violations: What They Protect, How To Prevent Them & Real-Life Examples

Privacy Law Violations: What They Protect, How To Prevent Them & Real-Life Examples

Our personal data is being used in thousands of ways. From streamlining our checkout process to monitoring our heart rate—or, even suggesting a movie we may like on a streaming platform—our information has become a key component in the way we experience technology.

While businesses and organizations use consumer data for a large variety of reasons, all of these companies have one thing in common: privacy law violations are becoming a substantial risk. With technology and the use of data rapidly changing, the responsibility of the organization that collects and stores the data is changing as well.

Cyber risk is often an underrated threat for many business owners. Some may think they’re not a target while others don’t realize how substantial the costs associated with a breach can be. Adding to this risk, a cyber breach does not have to have occurred to be considered a violation of privacy.

What is a Violation of Privacy?

While they both involve consumers personally identifiable information (PII), a cyber breach and a violation of privacy are different. When a cyber attack or data breach occurs, a hacker or cyber criminal gains unauthorized access to an internet database or network and steals private information. A violation of privacy does not involve a cyber criminal. Instead, a business or organization is knowingly utilizing a consumer’s information in a manner that is misleading or unknown to the consumer.


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Can Breach of Privacy be a Violation of Federal Law?

Laws Against Invasion of Privacy

In May 2018, the European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is the toughest privacy and security law in the world.

Following the GDPR, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) was passed in June 2018, giving any California consumer the right to see what personal information a company has saved (including information shared with third-parties). This allows consumers to sue companies when privacy laws are violated—even when no breach has occurred. The invasion of privacy federal law can lead to significant consequences for an organization.
Close up of hands typing on a silver laptop keyboard with digital cyber security graphics overlaying the image.
Consumers’ Right to Privacy Violation Examples:

Privacy law violations and the associated fines can have a significant impact on the bottomline of a business. Organizations have to ensure that they’re not only protecting their customers’ data, but that they’re also complying with all rules and regulations while handling and storing this personal information.

Organizations that shed a false light on their data-use may face serious consequences.

  1. Zoom Secretly Displayed Data from LinkedIn Profiles
    In a time period in which thousands were relying on working virtually, it was discovered that a data-mining feature on Zoom was allowing Zoom users to view LinkedIn profiles of other users, without their knowledge (even when users had elected to be listed as “anonymous”).
  2. FTC Imposes $5 Billon Penalty on Facebook
    As one of the largest penalties ever, the Federal Trade Commission held Facebook accountable for deceiving users about their ability to control the privacy of their personal information. Facebook shared users’ private data with third-party apps that had been downloaded by the users’ Facebook “friends” without the users’ knowledge.
  3. Youtube Faces Lawsuit Over Children’s Privacy Violations
    Privacy law violations can be costly and undoubtedly damage an organization’s reputation and relationship with consumers. It’s imperative that businesses disclose the handling and use of consumer data and remain transparent, in addition to following all rules and regulations.

ProWriters Leads The Way

Cyber liability and privacy law violations are complex. Your clients need experts they can trust to ensure they’re taking every precaution in protecting their customers and their clients.

With ProWriters, we offer FREE downloadable resources for brokers so they can best serve their clients.

To help your clients better understand their exposure, download our Cyber Risk Management 101 infographic where we break down the importance of recognizing cyber risk and the steps clients can take to get protected.

For more information on how you can protect your clients, contact us or speak with a ProWriters expert at (484) 321-2335.

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