Cambridge woman launches $550-million class-action lawsuit against Equifax Canada following privacy breach

A Cambridge woman is launching a $550-million class-action lawsuit against Equifax Canada after a massive cybersecurity breach may have compromised sensitive identity information of countless Canadians.

The statement of claim, which was filed Tuesday at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, names Bethany Agnew-Americano as the woman who launched the lawsuit on behalf of any Canadian victims of the hack which took place from May to August.

Atlanta-based Equifax confirmed on its Canadian website the breach compromised names, address and social insurance numbers, however the law firm representing Agnew-Americano said the company issued a press release last week that there was no way for Canadians to find out if they were affected.

“The scope of the privacy breach is unlike virtually any other previous breach,” lawyer Jean-Marc Leclerc, a partner at Sotos LLP — the firm taking on this lawsuit — said Wednesday.

“A social insurance number is probably one of the most sensitive pieces of information someone can get on you. The purpose is to track income and is given to very few people. Having a SIN number can open a vault to virtually all your other financial information — everything is open for scrutiny.”

In the U.S., 143 million Americans had their personal information exposed because of the attack, including consumers’ names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s licence numbers.

The proposed class-action lawsuit is seeking a court order requiring Equifax to notify any Canadians whose information was stored on Equifax databases and was accessed without authorization between May 1-Aug. 1.

The $500-million claim covers damages for negligence, breach of contract, various breaches of the Privacy Act and intrusion upon seclusion (i.e. invasion of privacy). The additional $50 million claim is for punitive damages.

Agnew-Americano could not be reached for comment.

A spokesman for Equifax Canada could also not be reached for comment on the lawsuit Wednesday, however, the company’s website noted the breach was contained and “only a limited number of Canadians may have been affected. We are working on finding out how many.”

The credit monitoring company’s call centre staff say that Canadians who have Equifax accounts in the U.S. could be at risk of having their data compromised, such as those who have lived, worked or applied for credit south of the border. Customers were told that consumers whose credit files were not checked outside of Canada are unlikely to be part of any breach.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada said on its website Tuesday that it’s taking a closer look into the hack.

sources: torontosun

Add Comments