GGD facing massive damage claim from victims in Covid data leak
A new foundation is working on a collective claim for damages against the Ministry of Public Health. The reason is a large data leak at the GGD that came to light earlier this year. Employees sold private data of people who got tested for the coronavirus online on the black market.
The initiator of the claim, the ICAM foundation, will open the website datalek-ggd.nl on Monday. There, people can join the lawsuit. The foundation wants 1,500 euros in compensation for people whose data was stolen and 500 euros for people whose data was in the GGD system "and could therefore have been stolen."
One of the people behind the foundation is former parliamentarian Astrid Oosenbrug, who has been involved in cyber security for years. She says that the GGD's computer systems are set up incorrectly. "Far too many people had access to the data. People could download large files with personal data without control. Employees were not properly instructed, not properly screened, and what they did was not properly tackled. Then you are not a victim but should have better watched your store."
Cybercriminals trade heavily in personal information on underground forums. They can pretend to be a company or agency and defraud people, for example, with phishing emails. Oosenbrug: "The government is the largest collector of data. People contacted them in complete confidence and handed over their data. That trust must be restored."
Oosenbrug emphasizes that she understands the GGD was busy fighting the coronavirus outbreak. "We are in a pandemic. It happens to you, and it is understandable that the systems are not built to collect so much data from so many people. It happens. But we are almost two years into the pandemic, and it is still not in order. I find that harmful."
The ICAM foundation first wants to talk to the Ministry. If that doesn't work, "then we expect to be able to send out the summons in February."
People who join the suit do not have to pay for it. An anonymous financier advances the costs. They will receive 20 percent of the compensation that participants get if they win the case, up to a maximum of five times the advance. The amount was not disclosed.
The Ministry of Public Health could not be reached for comment.
Reporting by ANP