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Lawsuits & Litigation

Illinois Unemployment Data Breach Results in Class-Action Lawsuit

— June 23, 2020

After mismanaging the Illinois unemployment system that led to a data breach, Deloitte is being hit with lawsuits from frustrated residents.

A class-action lawsuit was recently filed in Illinois over allegations that a data breach “exposed Social Security numbers and other private information of 32,483 Illinois unemployment applicants.” Some of that sensitive, private information included social security numbers. The suit was filed by Briana Julius against Deloitte Consulting. She argues the “contractor failed to secure personally-identifying information which led to fraudulent charges on her bank account and her debit card being shut off.”

Brown wooden gavel; image by Rawpixel, via
Brown wooden gavel; image by Rawpixel, via

The Illinois Department of Employment Security paid Deloitte $22 million to “build and manage the system…to handle claims from self-employed and gig workers, but soon after the system went online May 11 it was found to be publicly exposing private applicant information.”

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois and is the third suit filed against Deloitte over the data breach. The other two suits were filed by Ohio residents. Julius is being represented by Tiffany Yatras, a St. Louis attorney.

One of the main reasons why Julius decided to file her suit, however, is because when Deloitte originally informed her of the potential breach, the company stated “that after an investigation they found there was no likelihood her personal information was improperly used or is likely to be misused,” according to the suit. However, it wasn’t long before she noticed “fraud issues on her bank account” and had to spend a lot of personal time trying to remedy the situation. Thinking that others may be similarly impacted, Julius filed her suit as a class action so others can get justice against Deloitte’s mismanagement.

The IDES web portal that was built by Deloitte went live on May 11. It was designed to allow “independent contractors and gig workers to file for the unemployment benefits Congress made available March 27 through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program,” according to the suit. More than 44,000 Illinois residents applied for benefits on May 11 alone.

The data breach was discovered back on May 15 after state Rep Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, informed Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) “that one of her constituents was applying on the site and found a spreadsheet with the personal information of unemployment applicants.” After investigating the matter, Pritzker’s office confirmed the issue and said that IDEA was “working to correct it, though no information was offered as to the scope of the problem.” After a Freedom of Information Act request was filed by the Illinois Policy Institute to IDES it was revealed that “32,483 unemployment applicants had their private data exposed.”




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