Expensive violations: 1 billion euros GDPR fines in 2021

Expensive violations: 1 billion euros GDPR fines in 2021

A glance at the growing number of fines imposed in Europe shows that the General Data Protection Regulation has long been no toothless tiger. […]

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), introduced in 2018, has the noble goal of giving EU citizens more control over their data and their privacy. In order to achieve this, the competent authorities are imposing more and more fines, as the VPN provider Atlas VPN has compiled (https://atlasvpn.com/blog/gdpr-fines-hit-over-1-billion-in-2021 ). In 2021, 412 decisions were issued with a total sum of over one billion euros. This is 521 percent more than the 171 million euros in the previous year. In 2018, it had started relatively modestly with 436,000 euros in fines, but 72 million euros were already collected the following year.

Record fines for Amazon and Whatsapp

The lion’s share of the fine from 2021 falls on the e-commerce and cloud giant Amazon. In July 2021, the Luxembourg Data Protection Authority imposed a fine of 746 million euros on him. The reason was the Amazon tracking, which also collected a lot of data in order to be able to deliver personalized advertising to users. Later in the year, WhatsApp was hit with a fine of 225 million euros imposed by the Irish Data Protection Commission. This was justified by a lack of transparency in the transfer of personal data to other Facebook companies.

Vilius Kardelis, cybersecurity expert at Atlas VPN, concludes from the development of the fines: “The GDPR successfully holds companies accountable if they misuse people’s data or formulate their privacy policies ambiguously. Companies have become more responsible in handling their customer data in order to avoid hefty fines from the supervisory authorities, which ultimately benefits every EU citizen.“

Fines by country

If you look at the distribution among the EU countries, Spain is ahead with 351 fines. On average, this amounted to 105,000 euros per company. Italy ranks second with 101 fines. With an average of 887,000 euros, companies should pay the most across Europe. Germany ranks 6th in this list with 39 fines and a total of around 50 million euros.

GDPR penalties by country
Country Number of fines Total amount (in Euros)
Spain 351 36,742,810
Italy 101 89,624,096
Romania 68 720,95
Hungary 45 828,183
Norway 40 8,973,550
in Germany 39 50,160,083
Poland 30 2,189,948
Greece 27 919
Belgium 26 1,033,000
Czech Republic 25 165,903

Source: AtlasVPN/GDPR Enforcement Tracker (www.enforcementtracker.com)

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