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  • Writer's pictureSam Orlando

Fairfax Oral Surgery: Where Your Teeth are Safe, But Maybe Not Your Identity, According to Lawsuit


Written by: Sam Orlando


Fairfax, Virginia — In a town where oral hygiene is almost as important as national security, the citizens of Fairfax have always trusted the tender care of their teeth to Fairfax Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. But a new lawsuit filed today suggests that while their molars might be in good hands, their personal information? Not so much.


A Mouthful of a Lawsuit

Kerri E. Glass, a presumably bright-smiled citizen of Annandale, Virginia, has decided she'd had enough of the irony. You see, the dental office that promised to guard her pearly whites apparently didn't extend that level of protection to her private data. In a suit filed today in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Glass is seeking damages for herself and everyone else in a similar predicament. Yes, she's taken her grievance public, and class action is the name of the game.


"HIPPA" or "HIPAA"?

Fairfax Oral Surgery evidently doesn't have spell check because they reportedly mishandled sensitive patient data, including names, Social Security numbers, and medical records, that should have been safeguarded under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Note the double 'A,' dear readers; it's not a brand of beer or a self-help group for large mammals.


A Cyber-Cavity in the System

According to court documents, a data breach occurred in or around May 2023. Now, most people would've made a beeline to inform those affected, right? Not Fairfax Oral Surgery! They sauntered through two months of what we can only imagine were tense dental operations and awkward water cooler talks, finally notifying the authorities in mid-July.


Spitting Numbers

Over 200,000 individuals were affected by this 'small' oversight. Two. Hundred. Thousand. That's the equivalent of filling the football stadium at the University of Virginia twice and still having some people tailgating outside in the parking lot, their identities hanging in the balance.


Just a 'Minor' Security Incident

According to the oh-so-casual notice on Fairfax Oral Surgery's website, they discovered the "security incident" (a cute euphemism for "we messed up big time") on May 16, 2023. The company promptly launched an "internal investigation," but it appears they took their sweet time in letting anyone else in on the debacle.


A Toothless Policy?

The lawsuit alleges that not only did the company fail to adequately protect sensitive data, but it also didn't even encrypt the information. That's like leaving your front door unlocked in a sketchy neighborhood and then acting surprised when someone waltzes in to borrow your TV permanently.


The Wisdom Tooth of Lawsuits

Glass and her legal team are not mincing words; they're out for compensation. They've pointed to invasion of privacy, lost time, and "an increase in spam calls, texts, and emails" as some of the harms suffered due to the data breach. Ah, the modern trilogy of inconvenience.

As this saga unfolds, we're left to ponder: if a business responsible for drilling into human skulls can't even protect a simple data file, should we continue to entrust them with our wisdom teeth?


That's a question Fairfax residents may have to chew on for a while.


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