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Following a massive data breach at US company Equifax, it is estimated that the personal details of up to 44 million Britons may have been stolen. Equifax is a US credit rating firm and its UK subsidiary companies represent British clients including BT, Capital One and British Gas. Given many of the British victims are not directly Equifax customers, it is unlikely that they will be aware their details may have been stolen.
Hackers accessed the data between May – July this year, but this has only been made public recently. The data includes social security numbers and credit card numbers. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has requested Equifax to inform the affected UK customers.
As a holder of vast amounts of personal information, it is disappointing to see Equifax suffer a breach on such a huge scale. This is exactly the kind of news that the GDPR intends to reduce, but is the correct technology available for companies to prevent these breaches? What kind of penalty would Equifax have faced under the GDPR?