A proposed class-action lawsuit was filed against Equifax Inc. late Thursday evening, right after the company reported that an unprecedented hack had compromised the private information of about 143 million people.
In the complaint filed in Portland, Ore., federal court, users alleged Equifax was negligent in failing to protect consumer data, choosing to save money instead of spending on technical safeguards that could have stopped the attack. Data revealed included Social Security numbers, addresses, driver’s license data, and birth dates. Some credit card information was also put at risk. Equifax first discovered the vulnerability in late July, though it chose not to announce it publicly until more than a month later.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Mary McHill and Brook Reinhard. Both reside in Oregon and had their personal information stored by Equifax. “In an attempt to increase profits, Equifax negligently failed to maintain adequate technological safeguards to protect Ms. McHill and Mr. Reinhard’s information from unauthorized access by hackers,” the complaint stated. “Equifax knew and should have known that failure to maintain adequate technological safeguards would eventually result in a massive data breach. Equifax could have and should have substantially increased the amount of money it spent to protect against cyber-attacks but chose not to.”
The lawsuit seeks compensation of up to $70 billion for all consumers affected as well as a court order requiring the company to preserve all internal records related to the attack. I’m doubtful that there will be a settlement anywhere close to that amount.
Read more at Bloomberg.