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If a bank staff member has access to my financial information, and has then disclosed some of this information (for example, my account balance) on social media, what remedies are available to me? Will there be a difference if I suspect this person acted maliciously?

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    I have made edits to your question so that it doesn't seem like it is a question about legal advice, which is being discussed on our Meta site but has previously been a reason for closure. Please feel free to contribute to the meta discussion, or to make edits if I have not reflected your question correctly. Also, it may be helpful for you to specify a jurisdiction. – jimsug Jul 23 '15 at 2:10
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    I'll go further - it is essential that you add at least one jurisdiction. – Dale M Jul 23 '15 at 3:05
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In the absence of a jurisdiction I will deal with mine, Australia.

Complain to the financial services provider

Explain:

  • What has happened
  • How it happened
  • What effect this has had
  • What you want them to do to make it right

Complain to the Financial Services Ombudsman

If you have not had the complaint resolved to your satisfaction within 45 days then you may escalate the complaint to the ombudsman.

Privacy

If the information contains "personal information" that can be linked to you then there has been a breach of your privacy. Your account balance is personal information; the way it was disclosed must allow a third-party to link it to you.

The Privacy Act 1988 applies to "Australian and Norfolk Island government agencies and private sector organisations covered by the Privacy Act"; one category of private sector organisations that are covered are corporations with annual revenue of more than $3 million - any bank would meet this criteria.

Under the Act you may lodge a complaint; the OAIC is not required to investigate but if they do then some of the remedies are detailed here.

Compensation

If you have suffered a loss as a result of the disclosure you are entitled to be compensated. This may be part of a settlement under any of the complaint described above or if the bank is found guilty by the Federal court of breaching the Privacy Act then it can order compensation be paid.

Private Legal Action

This may be possible against both the employee and the bank (an employer is jointly and severally liable for the actions of an employee). However, you would have to prove a breach of contract or the tort of breach of confidence; "breach of privacy" is not a cause of action in common law in Australia.

In the case of the contract, the remedy for the breach may already be in the terms. Otherwise, you would have to prove the value of the damage.

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