Over 59,000 data breach notifications have been reported across the European Economic Area (EEA) by public and private organisations since the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force on 25 May 2018. That’s according to law firm DLA Piper’s GDPR Data Breach Survey.
The Netherlands, Germany and the UK top the table in the report with 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.
The Netherlands, with 89.8 reported breaches per 100,000 people, heads the list when the number of notifications are 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 21st respectively on a reported fine per capita basis. Greece, Italy and Romania reported the fewest number of breaches per capita.
Ross McKean, a partner at DLA Piper specialising in cyber and data protection, stated: “The GDPR completely changes the compliance risk for organisations 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 eight months since the GDPR came into force.”
To date, 91 fines have been reported. Not all of these relate to personal data breach and several relate to other infringements of the GDPR. The highest GDPR fine imposed to date is €50 million, which was made against Google on 21 January this year. 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.
Also commenting on the report, Sam Millar, a partner at DLA Piper specialising in cyber and large-scale investigations, explained: “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 notable partly because it’s 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 posed to individuals. We can expect more fines to follow over the coming year as the regulators clear the backlog of notifications.”