I'm interested in your perspective on the small claims route vs. class action.
It seems like a class action suit has the potential to have a larger impact on Equifax since the size of it would be so large, but it's sad to see individual amounts so low in most of them.
Equifax would beg for a class action where they get off for $500/litigant + a couple million to the winning attorneys.
But this plaintiff only got $600
There was some discussion about 6 months ago -- https://www.reddit.com/r/legaladvice/comments/7h9tn2/i_sued_... -- suggesting that it looked like their strategy might be to lose in small claims court but to appeal any decision against them.
(And see also https://www.reddit.com/r/legaladvice/comments/7lz38l/tried_t... which seemed … more like it might be fan fiction rather than a real story.)
I'm considering making a filing myself, and would like to use yours as a model (if that's allowed).
Also, does anyone know if precedent matters in small claims court? Would a small claims court in California care that another small claims court in Vermont ruled a certain way in a similar case?
As for California vs Vermont, those are in different states and under the jurisdiction of different federal courts of appeals. Therefore the only directly binding judicial precedents shared between them would be from the US Supreme Court (and some from England at the time of US independence).
However, if there's no controlling binding precedent, most courts would be willing to consider other states' sufficiently relevant judgments at a persuasive but non-binding level.
It sounds like it could be useful to have some sort of database or clearinghouse of data breach cases won against Equifax in small claims court, so they can be referred to in one's filings as relevant judgements.
> Lewis issued a court order that found West was owed money to cover the cost of up to two years of payments to online identity protection services
So Equifax was liable for the insurance/protection that West bought out of fear for her financial safety.
This is a fascinating solution to the problem that general plaintiff cannot sue until after they have provable harm. Instead of waiting for a rare $XXX loss and then suing for recovery, many plaintiffs can pay $X for insurance/protection and then sue for that cost.
She did not actually buy insurance, she just told the court what insurance would cost her.
Would it be stronger to pay for credit freezes and then sue to get that money back? And would it still take a multi-thousand-dollar chunk out of Equifax to respond?
If I’m not mistaken, her write up addresses speculation as potential damages as estimated before they could be realized in an uninsured situation, or otherwise taken up by insurers themselves.
The insurance is another thing altogether—a tool to mitigate that real and known risk right now.
(I’m on mobile so I only glanced at her post.)
That said, IANAL or an actuary.
Exactly what we hear around here, too.
Edit: if you disagree, I'd love to hear how we can hit back. Because I've not found a way, nor seen anyone else do so in a way that doesn't require what West did in this article (paying for some service).
Edit2: I misunderstood, she did not have to pay for insurance to win.
Edit: she responded, I thought she had to pay for insurance to win damages, but I misunderstood! that's great news!
It would be not more accurate but perhaps more clear to say “Well-known author and activist wins case against Equifax.”
Such an underrated role in the community.
In that sense I suppose this phenomenon is called "understatement."
The same is true of Dennis Ritchie: he’s just a programmer—because the word “programmer” was originally invented to describe people like Ritchie. But by that same historical standard, most modern “programmers” aren’t; they’re just code-monkeys.
The Usain Bolt example is different—Bolt really is an exceptional runner, rather than being a denotationally-central example of what it means to be a runner. When the word “runner” was invented, it referred to the lesser thing, with plenty of central examples; and by that yard-stick, Bolt is more like a “super-runner” or some such. (Similar to how the word “food” developed to refer to a category where the central examples were nutritionally merely-adequate, so now we’ve had to invent the word “superfood” for foods that are, like, really dang good at being food.)
In my experience (working in an academic library and interacting a lot with employees of other academic libraries), most actual present-day academic librarians do not suck at being a librarian. They're not as high-profile as Jessamyn West, but neither are they "computer literate old ladies" -- they use computers constantly in their daily work and are at least aware of issues with digital privacy, copyright law overreaches, etc. I suspect anyone who thinks "computer literate old lady" is still the normative example of a librarian, hasn't interacted with many librarians lately (or perhaps has limited experience e.g. in a small town library).
"Martin Luther King Jr was a criminal! Taxation is theft! Capital punishment is murder! Abortion is murder!", etc are examples of that sort of misrepresentation.
The noncentral fallacy is somewhat opposite to that—MLK is certainly not a “criminal’s criminal”—the reason people don’t identify him as a criminal certainly isn’t because he’s too much of a criminal.
"MLK is just a criminal!" and "Jeffrey Dahmer is just a criminal!" are both non-central attempts to use extreme outliers.
>"X is in a category whose archetypal member gives us a certain emotional reaction. Therefore, we should apply that emotional reaction to X, even though it is not a central category member."
The difference between calling MLK a minister and calling him a criminal is that being a minister isn't as negative. Nonetheless, calling him only a minister does evoke an emotional reaction that doesn't quite capture the power of MLK's role in society. Introducing him as a minister is an example of the non-central fallacy, but it's played for ironic effect.
Oh wait, that actually happened: https://twitter.com/MSalt69/status/476684833221926912
All my book needs were digitised long before our local library caught up, and then of course Amazon happened
The subject of the book was the machine itself (the so-called "bag on the side of the Eclipse", IIRC).
it would be more accurate if people stopped believing in stereotypes.
The award seems familiar... a year of lifelock and identity protection, with other future damages still too speculative.
Is lifelock sufficient to prevent malfeasance from stolen SSNs?
I honestly don't know how effective it is, but it is part of the default post breach response.
If it is sufficient, maybe the SSA should just be responsible for providing the equivalent to everyone. That way we can stop expecting unprotectable data to be protected. (Not to let Equifax off the hook, they were the point of failure in this case, but the system is also broken in aggregate.)
Or, if lifelock doesn't work, we should stop pretending it does, and not be satisfied with it as a post breach measure, and not waste money on it either.
Maybe SSA needs to ultimately move to some asymmetric solution like Estonia has. They've had a few bumps with that, but they're trying, and in comparison, we have basically no reasonable answer for situations that require revocation or private/public solutions. (Ie, your public SSN is the last four digits, and your private SSN is shared with almost everyone you transact with. Recommend a system like that to anyone studying information theory and you will get a drink thrown in your face.)
Everything librarian-related on that page (anti-censorship, pro-free-speech, pro-privacy) is standard librarian culture that I remember since I was young.
HN Discussion here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14982844
There are almost a million pages for living people, according to this https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Living_people They’re not all famous, they just usually have publications by them or about them.
>Though it’s unclear whether Equifax’s bottom line is being affected, news agencies across the country have reported a flurry of class action lawsuits and small claims court cases against the company in recent months. A Stanford University student made headlines nationwide when he created an online application that streamlined the process to file against the company, and some cases reportedly have been resolved against the company for up to $10,000 each.
Is there a how-to out there for filing in small claims court against Equifax?
I’ve tried looking that up. It’s not available anymore
Equifax is "too big to fail" and the government will ensure it does not
> The phrase "too big to fail" referred to the idea that certain banks are so big
Yes, thank you Mr Technicality for the explanation. The fact of the matter is Crony Capitalism existed before the bank bailouts and continues to exist,
"Too big to fail" is more of a Meme now to refer to the concept of Government bailing out business, and does not refer to a point in history or a single act by government
(NB: i may have misused financial terms as i am not a native speaker)
I do pay for that ... hmmm ...
(17MS094034, Fulton County Magistrate Court, Georgia.)
And, for this audience especially, try to be supportive and helpful getting people to figure out how to keep their information more private in a way that works for them. Most people aren't techie and that's OK and is going to stay that way. Help them be better at the things they need to do, with good, well-sourced information, don't just holler at them because they write passwords down or don't know the different between their Apple ID and their laptop login. Encourage them to look at the structures that underlie the systems that they use every day (frex: Google is the world's largest advertising agency and that should figure in to personal decisions about how much to interact with them).
Above all, don't just bitch on the internet! I mean, sure do some of that, but that should be the beginning of your work to try to help yourself and other people deal with the situations we're in, not the end.
So, maybe this is a good strategy to put these big firms on notice:
1. Exert plenty of PR pressure to broadcast the wrong that big firm did.
2. Launch tons of small claims court cases.
3. Firms lose money flying paralegals (or other legal staff) around the country for small claims court appearances.
4. Or, these firms lose money paying out all these awards at small claims court.
5. Congress - seeing this widespread ire/angst and related court action - springs into action legislatively, and enacts laws to better protect citizens.
LOL ok maybe that's too fantastically fictional. ;-)
...or they spring into action to enact laws to better protect Equifax.
Which do you think is more likely?
If you're a large firm who makes money by gossiping about people, you might be very concerned about it working as intended. They've successfully lobbied for an exception to libel law so you can't sue them for telling lies about you; buying a congressional pass as proof against this sort of responsibility is hardly a stretch.
The legislative branch acts like the game designer of a MMORPG - they are constantly looking at the balance of power and nerfing/buffing as they see fit - and often with what we might consider a distorted sense of "fairness".
I can give you an example of an information market that seems to operate in the same manner: bond rating agencies. I took a class that was taught by a seasoned finance veteran and he told us a story about when he ran the municipal bond desk at his agency. As it turns out, at his and every other finance company he knew, nobody gave any credibility to bond ratings when deciding to invest. Why would they? He told about the time that he called up one of the [well-known] agencies to talk about the rating process and was surprised to discover that they had a grand total of 15 employees for municipal bond ratings.
How are 15 people maintaining accurate ratings for the tens of thousands of municipal bonds??? How can they provide value commensurate to the amount they charge to rate a bond? Well, actually... They don't actually directly charge that much money. The big cost is borne by the city issuing the bond in the form of higher interest rates. But why would a city pay money to have a worthless rating that forces them to pay higher interest rates?
If a city sells a municipal bond and nobody shows up to the sale, did they really sell a municipal bond? Access to the marketplace is the difference between not selling a bond and selling a bond at a high interest rate. The gatekeepers to the marketplace want to have reasonable confidence that the bond is not a scam and reasonable confidence that the bond was issued in good faith. They also do not want to be in the position of deciding which cities should have access to the marketplace. So they've made a simple rule: any bond that gets rated by an agency they recognize can have access to the marketplace. The "value" of the bond rating goes mainly to the companies that make up the marketplace. The "cost" of the bond rating is paid by cities issuing bonds.