Article 83 certainly got businesses’ attention with its two-tiered fine structure; relatively minor infringements are “subject to administrative fines up to €10 million, or in the case of an undertaking, up to 2 percent of the total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year, whichever is higher” while more serious infractions are “subject to administrative fines up to €20 million, or in the case of an undertaking, up to 4 percent of the total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year, whichever is higher.
One year on , a report published by the European Commission shows that the new EU data protection rules have achieved many of their objectives, but more work needed. The GDPR modernises a set of principles first established 20 years ago, at the dawn of dial-up internet connections.
All but three member states (Greece, Portugal and Slovenia) have updated their national data protection laws in line with EU rules.
Privacy, a competitive advantage
The Commission will support the GDPR toolbox for businesses to facilitate compliance, such as standard contractual clauses, codes of conduct and new certification mechanisms.Compliance with the Regulation has helped companies increase the security of their data and develop privacy as a competitive advantage.
More powers to national data protection authorities
Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, said: "Data is becoming an invaluable element for a booming digital economy and is playing an increasingly vital role in developing innovative systems and machine learning. It is essential for us to shape the global field for the development of the technological revolution and for its proper use in full respect of individual rights.”
During the first year, they have made use of these new powers effectively when necessary. Data protection authorities are also cooperating more closely within the European Data Protection Board. By the end of June 2019, the cooperation mechanism had managed 516 cross-border cases.
The GDPR is as complicated for regulators as it is for businesses
It was always assumed that there would be a glut of cases at the introduction of the GDPR as businesses adapted to the new regulations. The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) released a preliminary report stating that of the 206,326 cases reported under the GDPR across the 31 countries in the European Economic Area (EEA), the national DPAs have only resolved only 52 percent of them. As regulators work through this backlog, businesses can expect more fines of greater amounts.
The average GDPR fine a company faced was approximately €66,000.
When you consider that the report of The EDPB,( which is made up of regulators from across the EEA ) says that DPAs have already handled roughly 100,000 self-reported breaches and user complaints under the GDPR, it becomes clear that most DPAs are being conservative when assessing GDPR fines.
The General Data Protection Regulation is bearing fruit
The General Data Protection Regulation is bearing fruit. It equips Europeans with strong tools to address the challenges of digitalisation and puts them in control of their personal data. It gives businesses opportunities to make the most of the digital revolution, while ensuring people’s trust in it. Beyond Europe, it opens up possibilities for digital diplomacy to promote data flows based on high standards between countries that share EU values. But work needs to continue for the new data protection regime to become fully operational and effective.
The Commission will report on GDPR implementation again in 2020 to assess the progress made after two years of application. By using GDPR checklist and keeping up to date on the latest developments and interpretations of the different regulations, you can avoid costly GDPR violations.
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