Fines are falling one after another. GDPR has been in force for five years

24. 05. 2023 | Kristýna Bezděková

The General Data Protection Regulation, known as GDPR, has been in force in the European Union (EU) for five years. Since its introduction – that is, since 25 May 2018 – a number of fines have been issued for breaches of the regulation. So far, the sovereign highest one was levied by the EU against Meta Platforms for sending European user data to the US.

The GDPR is designed to help defend the rights of EU citizens against the misuse of their data. It applies to public institutions, businesses and companies that handle the personal data of customers or employees.

The regulation applies uniformly in all EU countries and in Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. It also applies to companies that do business in this area but are based elsewhere. Regulators can fine a company for breaching GDPR rules.

Fines for breaches can be as high as four per cent of a company’s global revenue or €20 million (over £470 million), whichever is higher, as Meta Platforms found out the hard way this week. The owner of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp was fined €1.2 billion (more than CZK 28 billion) for mishandling user data. The fine was levied by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), which acts on behalf of the EU. The commissioners were bothered by Facebook’s sending of user data to the U.S. Until last week, U.S. online retailer Amazon held the top spot for fines. It was fined €746 million (then CZK 19 billion) by the EU in July 2021 for transferring personal data in breach of data protection rules. At the time, the fine was equivalent to about four percent of Amazon’s 2020 net profit of $21.3 billion. Amazon, however, appealed.


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Author of this article

Kristýna Bezděková

Kristýna is a student of marketing and communication in an undergraduate program. She writes and translates content into the Czech language


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