March 24, 2022 – Recently, the Houston Health Department announced that the COVID-19 test results of more than 10,000 people were inadvertently made accessible to over 3,000 portal users due to a technical issue involving the city’s COVID-19 test results portal.
It is essential that those who receive a data breach notification from the Houston Health Dept. understand what is at risk. The data breach lawyers at Console & Associates, P.C. are actively investigating the Houston Health Dept. data breach. As a part of our investigation, we are providing free consultations to anyone affected by the breach who is interested in learning more about the risks of identity theft, what they can do to protect themselves, and what their legal options may be to obtain compensation from the Houston Health Dept.
In 2021, there were 1,862 data breaches affecting more than 189,000,000 individuals. Victims of identity theft spend, on average, 200 hours and more than $1,300 recovering their identity. Many of these victims also suffer credit damage, emotional distress, and may even end up with a criminal record. Taking immediate action is the best way to prevent the worst consequences of a data breach.
According to a notice posted on the city’s official website, on January 6, 2022, the health department learned that due to what it believes was a technical error related to the COVID-19 test result portal, the test results of more than 10,000 patients were compromised. Along with COVID-19 test results, the other information available as a result of the breach includes individuals’ names, addresses, dates of birth, email addresses, and testing dates. The city specifically notes that no financial information or Social Security numbers were stored on the affected system.
On February 24, 2022, Houston Health Dept. posted notice of the incident on its website and indicated it is in the process of sending out data breach notification letters to all individuals whose information was compromised as a result of the recent data security incident.
The Houston Health Department is the official government health agency of the City of Houston. The Department’s mission is to promote and protect the health and social well-being of all Houstonians. Along those lines, the Department oversees a variety of programs, including COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, pollution control and prevention, epidemiology and disease reporting, and immunizations. With a population of over 2.3 million, Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth-largest city in the United States.
When you allowed the Houston Health Department access to your personal data, you trusted the city to keep your sensitive information safe. However, news of the Houston Health Department data breach raises some very serious questions about the city’s data security measures and whether it could have done more to prevent this type of breach.
Regardless of the industry, all businesses have a legal obligation to protect consumer information in their possession. Although creating and maintaining a data security system is costly, this is a necessary expense given the importance of consumers’ privacy.
Consumers whose personal, identifying, financial or healthcare-related data was compromised in a data breach can pursue legal action against a company that misused or mishandled their information. However, the investigation into the Houston Health Dept. breach is only in its beginning phases. For that reason, it is too early to tell if Houston Health Department was legally responsible for the breach. However, our data breach attorneys are investigating the Houston Health Dept. security breach to determine the potential legal remedies of those affected.
If you have questions about your ability to pursue a data breach class action lawsuit against Houston Health Department, contact a data breach attorney as soon as possible.
If you receive a data breach notification from Houston Health Department in the coming weeks, it means your personal data was among that which was compromised in the recent breach. It also means a stranger may have had access to your personal data. Given the risks involved, it is important you remain vigilant by taking the following steps:
At Console & Associates, P.C., our consumer privacy lawyers monitor all security and data breaches to help affected consumers pursue their legal remedies. We offer free consultations to victims of data breaches and can explain your rights in clear, understandable terms so you can make an informed decision about how to proceed with your case. If you’ve been affected by the Houston Health Department data breach or any other data security incident, Console & Associates, P.C., will investigate your case at no charge and offer you thorough advice about how to most effectively proceed with your case. If you decide to bring a case, we only get paid if you do. If your claim is successful, any legal fees are either paid by the defendant or come out of the funds recovered from the defendant. If your claim doesn’t result in a recovery, you will pay nothing.