A First Circuit judge has approved a class action settlement for victims of five data breaches that occurred at the University of Hawaii and its campuses over the past two years.
The data breaches potentially exposed personal data of more than 90,000 faculty, students, alumni, and guests at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the University of Hawaii at West Oahu, Kapiolani Community College, and Honolulu Community College.
The lawsuit was the first data breach class action brought in the state of Hawaii.
Victims will be given two years of credit monitoring and fraud restoration services.
"Identity theft is an issue of intense concern," said Thomas Grande, one of the attorneys representing the class action. "This settlement sets the standard for providing these services to future data breach victims."
Bruce Sherman, who also represented the class action, said that while data breaches may occur, it is up to the breaching institution to protect the victims.
"Data breaches will continue to occur in private companies and in government," said Sherman. "We have to make sure that these institutions take prompt action not only to notify the victims, but also to ensure that they can minimize any potential identity theft issues by providing credit monitoring."
Sherman said credit monitoring provides for continuous checking by a credit agency of a class member's credit file. If there is a suspicious activity, the class member is notified immediately and is given assistance to resolve the problem.
Credit monitoring and credit restoration services may cost as much as $15 to 20 per month if purchased individually, according to Grande.
UH issued the following statement:
"The University of Hawaii is pleased that Judge Patrick Border gave final approval to the class action settlement in this case. The settlement provides that the University will pay for two years of credit monitoring and fraud restoration services to each class member who signs up for the services by May 1, 2012. The University hopes as many class members as possible will sign up. The University remains committed to continuing work to safeguard the personal information of its students, faculty, staff and alumni."
Class members were sent a membership code that allows them to sign up online at https://IDIntegrity.com or they may call 1-855-205-6935 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central Time with questions or for more information.
Class members must sign up for benefits on or before May 1, 2012. More information about the settlement is also available at http://UHDataBreachLawsuit.com.