T-Mobile has agreed to pay $500 million to settle a class-action lawsuit stemming from the 2021 hack that it says exposed the data of about 76.6 million US residents. Under the proposed settlement filed Friday, which you can read in full below, T-Mobile will put $350 million into a settlement fund to go toward attorneys, fees and, of course, claimants. It will also be committed to spending $150 million on “computer security and related technology” during 2022 and 2023, on top of what it had already budgeted for.
In August, the company announced that its systems had been breached, following reports that social security numbers, names, addresses and driver̵[ads1]7;s license information for over 100 million of its customers were for sale. While the number turned out to be a bit inflated, T-Mobile’s numbers for how many people were affected continued to rise for the rest of the month. T-Mobile’s CEO called the security breach — the fifth in four years — “humiliating.”
The proposed settlement still needs to be approved by a judge, but if it is, T-Mobile will have 10 days to put money into the fund to cover the costs of notifying people who are eligible to claim. According to the settlement, it covers “the approximately 76.6 million US residents identified by T-Mobile whose information was compromised in the data breach,” with some caveats for some of the carrier’s employees and people close to the judges who presided over the case. . For the sake of full mediationit may very well mean that I am eligible to seek compensation, as I was a T-Mobile customer when the hack occurred.
The settlement agreement does not contain an estimate of how much each individual claimant can expect to receive, although it is difficult to estimate that kind of thing until it is clear how many will make claims.
The lawsuit that T-Mobile hopes to settle here accused the company of failing to protect its past, current and potential customers’ data, not properly notifying people who may have been affected, and generally having “inadequate data security.” T-Mobile denies these allegations in the agreement, and says the settlement does not constitute an admission of guilt. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the carrier says it “has the right to terminate the agreement under certain conditions” set forth in the proposed agreement, but says it expects to have to pay the claims.
Apart from this lawsuit, there have been other reactions to T-Mobile’s data breach and other similar ones. The FCC proposed new rules around such attacks, which aim to improve how a company communicates with people about their data.