- Equifax will be required to pay up to $700 million under a settlement for a 2017 data breach that revealed the data of 147 million people.
- As much as $425 million will be allocated to compensate people impacted by the breach, and those individuals will receive at least $125 dollars and as much as $20,000.
- Anyone can check to see if they were affected by the hack and file a claim if needed on Equifax’s website.
Equifax Data Breach Settlement
Credit reporting company Equifax will pay up to $700 million in a new settlement over a 2017 data breach that exposed the personal information of 147 million people.
The breach exposed names, birth dates, addresses, drivers license numbers, and Social Security numbers. It’s been dubbed the largest hack in U.S. history and now, the deal reached with Equifax will be the largest settlement ever paid-out for a data breach.
In a statement Monday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said Equifax had agreed to pay at least $575 million and up to $700 million in damages. However, not all of that money will go to the nearly 150 million people impacted by the hack.
As much as $425 million will go to compensate the individuals who were affected. About $175 million will go to 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The other $100 million will go the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for civil penalties.
According to the FTC, the people affected by the breach can file a claim and will be entitled to at least $125 and at most $20,000. Those entitled to the $125 can opt to enroll in up to 10 years of free credit monitoring instead of the reimbursement.
Those impacted can also be compensated $25 per hour for up to 20 hours for time spent dealing with the breach, though they have to provide proof. They will also be offered free identity restoration services for up to seven years.
If you’re one of the 147 million whose information was leaked in the breach, here’s how you can claim your money.
Step 1: Go to the Website & Verify Your Data Was Breached
The first step is to go to the website and see if your data was breached.
You can do this by scrolling down and clicking “Find Out If Your Information Was Impacted.”
You will be asked to provide your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. You may be hesitant to provide this information to Equifax, but there is no cause for concern because a third the company will be handling the pay-outs and claims.
Step 2: File a Claim
If you find that your data has in fact been compromised, you will be provided an option to file a claim on the same page.
If you choose to file a claim, you will be asked a series of simple questions about yourself such as your name, number, address, and year of birth.
Step 3: Choose Compensation or Credit Monitoring
Once that is complete, you will be asked to choose either the free credit monitoring option or the $125 compensation.
Step 4: Reimbursement for Time Spent Trying to Recover
After that, you will be asked if you wish to claim reimbursement for the time you spent trying to recover from fraud or identity theft. If you claim 10 hours or less, you will be required to describe what you did to address the breach, and how long it took.
If you claim more than 10 hours, you will be required to provide documentation to show proof of the fraud or identity theft.
Step 5: Reimbursement for Money Lost or Spent
Finally, you will be asked if you lost or spent money while trying to recover from fraud or identity theft. If you click “Yes,” you will be required to provide documentation.
The good news is once that is complete, you’re all done. The bad news is, it will be some time before you see that money. According to the FTC, benefits will not be sent out until January 23, 2020, at the earliest.
See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (CNN) (The Verge)
Apple Raises Worker Pay as Unions Gain Ground
The company’s vice president of people and retail was caught trying to dissuade employees from unionizing in a leaked video.
Labor Squeezes Apple into Submission
Apple announced Wednesday that its U.S. corporate and retail employees will see a pay increase later this year, with starting wages bumped from $20 per hour to $22, though stores in certain regions may get more depending on market conditions.
Starting salaries are also expected to increase.
“Supporting and retaining the best team members in the world enables us to deliver the best, most innovative, products and services for our customers,” an Apple spokesman said in a statement. “This year as part of our annual performance review process, we’re increasing our overall compensation budget.”
Some workers were told their annual reviews would be moved up three months and that their pay increases would take effect in early July, according to a memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Furthermore, they were told the increased compensation budget would be in addition to pay increases and special awards already received within the past year.
Feeling squeezed by low unemployment and high inflation, tech companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have changed their compensation structures in recent weeks to pay workers more, and Apple is the latest to bend to market pressure.
Unions Gaining Traction
On Wednesday, The Verge received a leaked video of Apple’s vice president of people and retail, Deirdre O’Brien, explicitly dissuading employees from unionizing.
“I worry about what it would mean to put another organization in the middle of our relationship,” she said. “An organization that does not have a deep understanding of Apple or our business. And most importantly one that I do not believe shares our commitment to you.”
She vocalized more anti-union talking points, like the idea that the company will not be able to make important decisions as quickly with a collective bargaining agreement.
O’Brien has been personally visiting retail stores over the past few weeks in an apparent bid to combat budding union activity.
Apple stores in three locations — New York, Georgia, and Maryland — are currently pushing to unionize, with the latter two set to vote in elections on June 2 and 15, respectively. In response to these efforts, Apple has hired anti-union lawyers, given managers anti-union scripts, and held anti-union captive audience meetings.
In the United States, unionized workers make about 13.2% more than non-unionized workers in the same sector, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
As of Wednesday, Apple’s shares had fallen 21% since the start of the year, but sales grew 34% last year to almost $300 billion.
See what others are saying: (The Wall Street Journal) (CNBC) (The Verge)
Employees at Activision Blizzard’s Raven Software Form First Union at a Major Gaming Company
Organizers say the decision has the potential to upend labor practices in the gaming industry.
Raven Software QA Testers Win Union Bid
A group of 28 workers at Activision Blizzard subsidiary Raven Software voted to form the first-ever union at a major U.S. gaming company.
While the Game Workers Alliance is a small union, organizers in the space say its formation represents a major shift for the gaming industry and will encourage others in the sector to follow suit.
The newly unionized workers are quality insurance (QA) testers working at the Wisconsin-based studio to develop “Call of Duty.” QA testers work to sort out any glitches in games, and the jobs are notoriously known for extreme crunch periods where staffers work long stretches of hours before a game’s release.
During crunch periods, employees are regularly given 12- to 14-hour shifts with just a few days off each month in order to meet release deadlines.
Many QA testers have said they are treated as second-class to others in the industry. They are paid much lower — often minimum wage or close to it — work on contract cycles and, as a result, feel disposable.
That particular sentiment was underscored for workers at Raven Software in December when the company ended the contracts of about a dozen QA testers. The decision prompted the remaining QA testers to hold a walkout and, shortly after that, they began organizing to form a union, which they dubbed the Game Workers Alliance.
Activision’s Battle Against Unionization Effort
Activision did not support the push for unionization and actively fought against it. The company refused to voluntarily recognize the union, and just days after the group filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board, it moved QA testers to different departments across its properties.
Activision also announced it would convert over 1,000 temporary QA workers to full-time employees, give them a pay raise to $20 an hour, and provide more benefits. However, management said the move would not apply to the unionizing workers because, under federal law, they could not try to encourage workers from voting against unionization by offering pay hikes or benefits. Union leaders repudiated that argument.
Additionally, Activision fought against the union petition, arguing that any union would need to include all of the studio’s employees, but the Labor Board rejected the claim and let the effort proceed.
According to multiple reports, Activision management continued to push against the union in the weeks leading up to the vote. Some Raven employees told The Washington Post company leaders had suggested at a town hall meeting that unionization could hurt game development and impact promotions and benefits. The following day, the managers allegedly sent an email urging workers to “vote no.”
On Monday, Labor Board prosecutors announced they had determined that Activision illegally threatened workers and enforced a social media policy that violated bargaining rights. Activision denied the new allegations.
The two parties will have until the end of the month to file an objection, and if none are filed, the union becomes official. It is currently unclear how Activision and Raven will respond, but they have signaled that they might not make the transition period easy for the union.
According to internal documents seen by Bloomberg, the company has repeatedly mentioned that it can take a while for a union to negotiate its first contract.
In a statement following the vote, an Activision spokesperson told The Post that the company respects the right of its employees to vote for or against a union, but added: “We believe that an important decision that will impact the entire Raven Software studio of roughly 350 people should not be made by 19 of Raven employees. We’re committed to doing what’s best for the studio and our employees.”
See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (The Washington Post) (Bloomberg)
Uber Forks Over $19 Million in Fine for Misleading Australian Riders
The penalty is just the latest in a string of lawsuits going back years.
Uber Gets Fined
Uber has agreed to pay a $19 million fine after being sued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for making false or misleading statements in its app.
The first offense stems from a company policy that allows users to cancel their ride at no cost up to five minutes after the driver has accepted the trip. Despite the terms, between at least December 2017 and September 2021, over two million Australians who wanted to cancel their ride were nevertheless warned that they may be charged a small fee for doing so.
Uber said in a statement that almost all of those users decided to cancel their trips despite the warnings.
The cancellation message has since been changed to: “You won’t be charged a cancellation fee.”
The second offense, occurring between June 2018 and August 2020, involved the company showing customers in Sydney inflated estimates of taxi fares on the app.
The commission said that Uber did not ensure the algorithm used to calculate the prices was accurate, leading to actual fares almost always being higher than estimated ones.
The taxi fare feature was removed in August 2020.
A Troubled Legal History
Uber has been sued for misleading its users or unfairly charging customers in the past.
In 2016, the company paid California-based prosecutors up to $25 million for misleading riders about the safety of its service.
An investigation at the time found that at least 25 of Uber’s approved drivers had serious criminal convictions including identity theft, burglary, child sex offenses and even one murder charge, despite background checks.
In 2017, the company also settled a lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for $20 million after it misled drivers about how much money they could earn.
In November 2021, the Justice Department sued the company for allegedly charging disabled customers a wait-time fee even though they needed more time to get in the car, then refused to refund them.
Later the same month, a class-action lawsuit in New York alleged that Uber charged riders a final price higher than the upfront price listed when they ordered the ride.