The US Department of Defence has reportedly been hit with a class action lawsuit from a group of war veterans, who are suing after nearly five million health records of a sensitive nature were stolen from a contractor’s car.
According to the lawsuit, which stems from a police complaint made in September 2011, the records were in the form of back-up tapes when they were stolen from a parked vehicle belonging to an employee of Science Applications International Corporation. This company is a contractor for Tricare, the military veteran’s healthcare provider.
The records were said to contain everything from personal health information to address, social security numbers and telephone numbers.
In the lawsuit, both Tricare and the Defense Secretary Leon Panetta are named as defendants. They are accused of failing to take precautions to protect the veterans’ identities and the information itself, as the lawsuit claims it was “unprotected, easily copied [and Tricare] inexplicably failed to encrypt the information”.
If the class action suit is successful and both defendants admit the breach of privacy, the payout could total as much as $1,000 per victim or $4.9 billion in total. In this instance, professional indemnity insurance would be vital.