GDPR Fines Tops €1 Billion in One Year, Spiking More Than 500%

2021 is a record setting year for GDPR regulators. For 2021, more than €1 billion euros in fines have been handed out.

There’s been no shortage of blockbuster headlines for GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) fines over the last year. Examples of this include the €746 million Amazon fine (which is currently being challenged) and the €225 million fine against WhatsApp. With a fine that large, you might think that 2021 will probably be a record setting year. You would be correct.

Statistics show that 2021 has been a record setting year for fines being handed out by GDPR regulators. The amount in fines has spiked over 500% which is an eye-popping statistic to be sure. According to Infosecurity-Magazine, that’s not the only statistic on an upward trend:

Europe’s data protection regulators issued over €1bn ($1.1bn) in GDPR fines since January 2021, a massive 594% year-on-year increase, according to international law firm DLA Piper.

The firm’s annual figures are a useful indication of the level of regulatory activity among the region’s privacy regulators.

It claimed that there had been an 8% rise in breach notifications, to 130,000 for the region since January 28 last year.

The study applies to the 27 EU member states plus the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, which also follow the GDPR.

“The nearly sevenfold increase in fines may grab the headlines but the Schrems II judgment and its profound implications for data transfers has established itself as the top data protection compliance challenge for many organizations caught by GDPR,” argued Ross McKean, chair of the UK Data Protection and Security Group.

“The threat of suspension of data transfers is potentially much more damaging and costly than the threat of fines and compensation claims. The focus on transfers and the significant work required to achieve compliance inevitably means that organizations have less time, money and resource to focus on other privacy risks.”

So, it’s very possible that the cost of failure to comply with GDPR law could continue to go up. What’s more is that it is more than possible to see more blockbuster fines in headlines through 2022 as well. It’ll be interesting to see if this upward trend continues.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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