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European GDPR Fines Skyrocket in Third Quarter

Graham Turner

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GDPR fines
European countries are increasingly implementing the GDPR with violators incurring significant fines.

According to data compiled by Finbold, EU GDPR fines for 2021 Q3 hit €984.47 million (£840.84m). This is almost 20 times higher than cumulative fines of €50.26m (£42.93m) imposed during Q1 and Q2.

To put this into perspective, the Q3 2021 GDPR fines are three times higher than the €306.3m (£261.63m) imposed across the entire 2020. In 2021, July registered the highest fines at €755.08m(£644.84,).

There’s been an increased onus on maintaining GDPR practices as adjustments due to the pandemic have inherently changed the nature in which sensitive data is handled.

For example, staff at businesses across Britain could risk breaching GDPR guidelines when printing office documents at home.

As of October 4, 2021, Amazon EuropeCore S.à.r.l had incurred the highest fine at €746m (£637.16m), followed by WhatsApp Ireland Ltd at €225m ($192.13m). Elsewhere, Google is in the third spot with fines amounting to €50m (£42.7m).

H&M Hennes & Mauritz Online Shop was fined €35.26 million (£30.12m) while telecommunication operator TIM incurred the fifth-highest fines at €27.8m (£23.75m).

Luxembourg also accounts for the highest cumulative fines at €746.07 million (£637.17m) from 11 cases, followed by Ireland at €225m (£192.15m). Among the top ten countries with the highest fines, Italy ranks third at €86 million from 92 cases.

France ranks fourth with with 18 cases and fines totalling around €57m (£48.68m), while Germany is fifth at €50m (£42.7m). Spain has the most cases at 296 with fines of €32m (£27.32m).


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Although, it is worth noting, according to the report: “The imposed fines do not necessarily mean that the affected business might pay the exact amount.

“Notably, some companies are known to launch appeals that sometimes lead to the scrapping of the fines or reduction.”

The report highlights some of the factors contributing to the significant fines in 2021. According to the research report: “Additionally, in 2020, regulators showed some form of leniency towards businesses as a cushion towards the coronavirus pandemic.

“The period saw businesses undergo financial hardships. Therefore, it can be assumed that the high fines in 2021 indicate that the cushion emanating from the pandemic is no longer applicable as most countries resume normal economic activities amid the vaccination campaigns.”

With regulators increasing focus on implementing the regulations, the fines are likely to keep increasing further.

Graham Turner

Sub Editor

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