The Netherlands, Germany and the UK top rankings for the number of breach notifications, with findings suggesting that recent EU Commission figures on breach notifications are conservative, according to DLA Piper's GDPR Data Breach survey.
Compliance risk concern
The Netherlands, Germany and the UK had approximately 15,400, 12,600, and 10,600 reported breaches respectively. The lowest numbers of reported breaches were made in Liechtenstein, Iceland and Cyprus with 15, 25 and 35 reported breaches respectively. The Netherlands, with 89.8 reported breaches per 100,000 people topped the list when the number of notifications were weighted against country populations, followed by Ireland and Denmark. Of the 26 EEA countries where breach notification data is available, the UK, Germany and France ranked tenth, eleventh and twenty-first respectively on a reported fine per capita basis. Greece, Italy and Romania reported the fewest number of breaches per capita. According to Ross McKean, a partner at DLA Piper specializing in cyber and data protection, ‘the GDPR completely changes the compliance risk for organizations which suffer a personal data breach due to revenue based fines and the potential for US style group litigation claims for compensation. As we saw in the US when mandatory breach notification laws came into force, backed up by tough sanctions for not notifying, the GDPR is driving personal data breach out into the open. Our report confirms this with more than 59,000 data breaches notified across Europe in the first 8 months since the GDPR came into force.’
More fines to follow
To date 91 fines have been reported. Not all of these relate to personal data breach and several relate to other infringements of GDPR. The highest GDPR fine imposed to date is €50 million, which was made against Google on 21 January 2019. This was a French decision in relation to the processing of personal data for advertising purposes without valid authorisation, rather than a personal data breach. Sam Millar, a partner at DLA Piper specializing in cyber and large scale investigations said, ‘the regulators have already started to flex their muscles with 91 GDPR fines imposed to date but the fine against Google is a landmark moment and is notable partly because it is not related to personal data breach. We anticipate that regulators will treat data breach more harshly by imposing higher fines given the more acute risk of harm to individuals. We can expect more fines to follow over the coming year as the regulators clear the backlog of notifications.’