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Federal judge dismisses Office of Personnel Management data breach lawsuits

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Colombia [official website] dismissed [opinion, PDF] two lawsuits against the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) [official website] Tuesday for their alleged negligence in their conduct surrounding the 2015 OPM data breach [OPM materials].

The two lawsuits were filed by the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union [advocacy websitew]. Each organization represented union members and additional federal workers who were among the estimated 20 million federal workers who had their personal information stolen in the 2015 breach.

The court noted the novelty of the situation, stating that:

The fact that this is not just a data breach case, but that it is a data breach arising out of a particular sort of cyberattack against the United States, differentiates it from the majority of the legal precedent that arises in the context of retail establishments or other financial entities.
The court ultimately concluded that the plaintiffs did not state sufficient factual allegations to bring these claims and dismissed the claim for lack of standing.

Cybersecurity continues to be a growing threat to countries and individuals around the world. In May President Donald Trump signed an executive order [JURIST report] designed to strengthen IT and cybersecurity frameworks in the country by having agency heads manage security risks and modernize the IT infrastructure. While the executive order signed by Trump will compel action in the governmental sector, private companies are also struggling with data breaches. Last week, Equifax [official website] announced [NYT report] that a data breach may have compromised the information of 143 million Americans.

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