The video game world was rocked recently by the shutdown of the Sony Playstation 3 Gaming Network. While a free service, the fact that gamers were unable to connect to the network and play their favorite games against both friends and strangers added a wrinkle to an already complex competition between the electronics giant and Microsoft’s X-Box system and network. However, a more significant wrinkle much less publicized exists: Sony was forced to shut down their network due to a breach by external individuals that exposed their personal data.
Most likely ending as a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) situation wherein the litigation will be handled in one court and affect the rulings and settlement opportunities of people across the country, this situation affects hundreds, if not millions, of Americans. Headquartered in California, Sony still does not have a definitive answer for its customers regarding this situation. Yesterday’s news that 10 million credit card numbers may have been exposed in a data breach that involved a known vulnerability is all the more staggering.
When someone puts their faith, and personal information, in the hands of a company, let alone a giant like Sony, they believe this data will be kept secure. However, for this breach to occur, and for the company to admit it was a known issue, provides the legal basis for judicial recovery. Only time will tell what becomes of this privacy and information issue but the protection of secure data is paramount. What Sony will do to reassure its customers that they can continue to trust them remains to be seen.
The courts have consistently found there is a strict liability on the part of corporations to maintain the information of its clients in a secure manner. When they breach this duty, the courts have followed suit in holding reasonable accountability in place as to how the company should have acted while taking into account unforeseeable circumstances. The twist is the aforementioned admission on the part of Sony that the breach involved an existing and known vulnerability of the system. Proponents of suing Sony for damages would see this as a red flag similar to an automobile company, for instance, continuing to sell a car with a weak brake system.
As time goes on more and more people will begin to realize the significance of this network shutdown goes well beyond a delay in their favorite games. While the immediate impact for many has been missing out on all of the features of their favorite games, very serious breaches of corporate policy and expectations. Attorneys have begun to investigate this matter and the Berniard Law Firm is at the forefront.
If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact our offices immediately.