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Yahoo! must! face! the! music! over! data! breaches! judge! rules!

Purple Palace's corporate carcass to cop a kicking as class action gets green light

The corporate carcass of Yahoo! must face trial over its notorious data breaches.

Late last week in this judgement [PDF], US District Court Judge Lucy Koh (Northern California) said the some of the claims over the company's 2013 and 2014 data breaches could proceed.

Verizon shaved US$350 million off what it paid to acquire Yahoo! as a result of the leaks.

Eleven plaintiffs are named as bringing the lawsuit on behalf of four classes, and since the breaches compromised over a billion users Yahoo! wanted to stop the case going ahead.

The company partially succeeded as Judge Koh left most of the class action suits in place, dismissing actions based on complaints of “fraudulent inducement”, “negligent misrepresentation” and similar issues.

However, Judge Koh dismissed Yahoo!'s contention that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring their case, leaving them free to proceed on breach of contract and unfair competition grounds.

The judgement notes that the plaintiffs “have alleged a risk of future identity theft, in addition to loss of value of their personal identification information”. Some, Judge Koh wrote, have had to spend money to protect themselves, while others have detailed the damage they suffered as a result of being caught up in the breach.

Yahoo! had also tried to contend that the defendants couldn't prove that misuse of their credit cards (for example) was directly tied to the breach, because other breaches take place; the judge wasn't impressed.

“The existence of other potential data breaches or causes for Plaintiffs’ injuries does not defeat Plaintiffs’ standing to sue [Yahoo!]” she wrote.

Judge Koh also noted that if Yahoo! had owned up to the breaches promptly, people would have been able to defend themselves by changing their passwords.

Earlier this year, the FBI indicated four men including two Russian FSB agents over the meghacks.

One of those, Karim Baratov, appeared in court in late August to enter a not guilty plea. ®

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