Access to drivers license numbers through an insurers “instant quote” website feature was held confirmed by a US appeal court to be no foundation for a claim for breach of privacy obligations because the claimants failed to show any concrete injury traceable or even possibly traceable to the disclosure. A complainant must plausibly allege concrete injury caused by the asserted wrong and not fears of hypothetical future harm that is not impending.

In the course of a pragmatic judgment the majority said:

“Plaintiffs tried to bridge this gap by contending that the disclosure caused worry and anxiety, which led to other steps such as incurring credit monitoring costs. Yet we have held that worry and anxiety are not the kind of concrete injury essential to standing. If they were, almost everyone could litigate about almost anything, because just about everything anyone does causes some other people to fret. Imagine someone who asserts: ‘The disclosure of my license number made me sad, and to cheer myself up I ate a chocolate bar.’ The price of candy would be money out of pocket, but eating chocolate is not a normal consequence of disclosures except through the bridge of worry. The cost of a credit monitoring service is no different, when the disclosed information does not facilitate credit-related frauds.”

[Alp Baysal and Others v Midvale Indemnity Co case no 22-1892 in the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit]