“59,000-plus personal data breaches reported across Europe post-GDPR” reveals DLA Piper study

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.”

*Download DLA Piper’s GDPR Data Breach Survey

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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