Surge in GDPR Complaints Experienced by EU-based Regulators

Following the introduction of the European Unions’ General Data Protection Regulation on May 25 this year a surge in the number of complaints to regulators has been felt across Europe, reflecting the public awareness and interest in the new legislation.

In a report published on Politico Europe the French data protection regulator CNIL revealed a 50% rise in the amount of complaints registered compared with the same period in 2017. In addition to this, another 29 cases are currently under review at the European Union level. ICO, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, revealed that it has experienced an increase in complaints from organisations, as well as a higher number of data protection complaints, since the GDPR legislation became enforceable last month.

The new EU legislation has also led to increased transparency from firms that have been impacted by a data breach, with notifications surging over the same time period. GDPR increased the maximum applicable fines for a data breach to €20m or 4% of a company’s global turnover, whichever figure is higher. Companies are more likely to face massive financial penalties fines if they delay reporting GDPR breaches.

Over 100 complaints have also been registered in Austria  in the last month, along with 59 GDPR breach notifications. This is the same number that would typically have been received over an eight-month time period before GDPR was introduced. “Considering the powerful position these companies have and the consequent pressure the data subject is put under, to agree to irrelevant processing/advertising purposes, we believe that any such consent obtained should be considered invalid,” a Noyb spokesperson stated. Noyb is a non-profit organization based in Vienna, Austria. It was founded in 2017 by Austrian lawyer and privacy activist Max Schrems. The aim of the groups is to launch strategic court cases and media initiatives in support of the General Data Protection Regulation,

In the UK An ICO representative revealed that: “It’s early days and we will collate, analyse and publish official statistics in due course. But generally, as anticipated, we have seen a rise in personal data breach reports from organisations. Complaints relating to data protection issues are also up and, as more people become aware of their individual rights, we are expecting the number of complaints to the ICO to increase too.”